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The Intermediate State 














750853 A 



Jl 1835 L 

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• t • • • • 

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► •• • 

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tf^t * 

'I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, conoeming 
them which are asleep.' 

0^ OiSoiiev di {ffJL&f Aypoehf, d9€\<pot, repi rCw MKOtitrifUvfap* 

1 Thbss. iv. 13. 


The following pages were ready for publication, 
dedicated to the memory of a valued friend, Henry 
Parry Liddon, when it pleased Grod to visit me with 
the heaviest visitation possible for man. It may be 
that He, Who knows the end from the beginning, 
has been mercifully preparing me for this mys- 
terious dispensation of His Providence, for at the 
opening of the year I was driven by a strong im- 
pulse to break off another book which I was 
engaged in writing, and to give my whole atten- 
tion to throwing into definite shape the thoughts 
on the unseen world which are here set forth. I 
was hoping to hear that they had brought help and 
comfort to others ; Gk>d has willed that I should be 
the first to test their power in my own soul. 

H. M. L. 

Nov. 11, 1890. 










TjlLEYEN years have elapsed since I published 
Aft&r Death. It embodied the results of a 
patient investigation upon three important ques- 
tions connected with the Intermediate State, viz., 
(1) the lawfulness of praying in any way for the 
dead ; (2) the gi'ounds for believing in the inter- 
cessions of the dead on our behalf ; and (3), as a 
consequence of this belief, the legitimacy of the 
practice of addressing appeals to the dead for 
their help or intercession. I endeavoured to set 
forth dispassionately, without prejudice of any 
kind, the conclusions which seemed to be forced 
upon us by an accumulation of evidence drawn 
from a variety of primitive sources. 


viii Preface. 

The fact of the book having passed through 
many editions and been widely read, may be 
taken as some proof that I did not altogether fail 
in separating what has been regarded as a burn- 
ing subject, almost invariably provoking bitter- 
ness of controversy, from the sphere of party- 
spirit It was probably the surprise expressed 
by the critics that I had been able to do this, 
which first drew attention to the book, and 
attracted readers, who would otherwise have 
turned away from a subject which has had so 
many distressing associations. The review in 
Tht Guardian dwelt much upon " the moderation, 
sober, calm candour, and fairness" with which 
the subject was discussed on its merits, and '' the 
boldness " with which the author gave '' his con- 
clusions on the evidence alone." If it has helped 
in the smallest degree to secure the result anti- 
cipated in the same review, it must always be a 

Preface. ix 

maitt^ for thankfulness. "It brings with it/' 
the writer said,^ &e pix>mise that, perhaps from a 
more general recognition of iidiat is of Catholic 
authority, our children, while they may have out- 
grown the danger of confounding the devotional 
growths of later times with the usage of earlier 
ones, may enjoy, without offence, a primitive 
Uberty of prayer, which we, their fathers, could 
only use grudgingly and under suspicion." 

As may well be supposed, the publication of 
the book led to a large correspondence both with 
friends and strangers. In their letters many 
kindred questions were opened up. It is on 
these that I have attempted to deal in the follow- 
ing pages. Unlike the former book, the present 
is in part speculative. In that, there was ample 
evidence to appeal to ; in this, at times, there 
is little of a direct nature, and one is obliged to 
be satisfied with that which is only inferential 

X Preface. 

Whenever there was reason to believe that the 
subjects were dealt with in the Primitive Church, 
I have had recourse to its authority, and rested 
upon it ; t)ut I have no right to appeal to it 
with confidence, because there is rarely any such 
general evidence as can satisfy the Yincentian 

It is often said that very little is revealed to us 
concerning the future world; and many a man 
shrinks from all consideration of the state after 
death, through fear of incurring S. Paul's rebuke 
for "intruding into those things which he hath 
not seen." They regard the grave as a deep 
gulf fixed between the visible and the invisible, 
"too great to allow even thought to overleap." 
It tends, I believe, to foster, even in good and 
holy men, a spirit of the old Sadduceeism, which 
thrust the dead out of sight and mind with 
all possible speed. The frequent citations from 

Preface, xi 

Holy Scripture in the several chapters will 
show that much more is written in Ood's 
Word on the subject than men are disposed to 

It only remains for me now to express my 
obligations to a few friends who have helped me 
directly or indirectly. First, to Canon LiddoD, 
whose loss to the Visible Church, I, in common 
with a multitude of others, have now to deplore. 
I owe much to him both for counsel in difficulty 
and for encouragement in face of opposition. 
At a time when he knew that obstacles were 
being interposed, he urged the continued pursuit 
of the study in terms so forcible that they 
amounted almost to compulsion. Upon the 
desirableness of praying for the dead, and the 
need of inculcating the practice, nothing could 
exceed the strength of his convictions. He 
expressed them ten years ago to me in the 

ni Preface. 

foHowing yery striking langaage: "Courage is 
needed fx> announce the truth in the face of the 
Puritanical tradition which is so disastrously 
prominent, generally speaking, in the high places 
of the Church of England. It is singular that 
men can go on appealing to the Primitive Church, 
and yet ignore or deny what was as much a part 
of its life, public as well as private, as the worship 
of our Lord — and much more so than its recog- 
nition of some parts of our present Canon of the 
New Testament." I quote these words because 
I believe there are many who will gladly be 
guided by his judgment 

Again, in reference to some of the most 
important chapters in this present book, espe- 
cially those touching the probation of the heathen 
and ignorant after death, and the absence 
of authority for a like probation for those 
who had been taught in this life, he wrote, 

Preface. »» 

*' We axe clearly of one mind about the Inter- 
'mediate State; as I cannot deprecate ^my 
natural speculations, so long as they profess 
themselves speculations resting on whatever basis 
of Theological probability ; and you are opposed 
to making anything (fe fidt which is not clearly 
revealed as being so." 

I have been strengthened in my conclusions 
on many important points by the Bev. D. 
Greig, Bector of Cottenham, who has long been 
a student of Eschatology. To the Bev. Canon 
Evans I am indebted, as so often before, for 
a careful revision of the proof-sheets, and for 
calling my attention to obscurities of expression, 
which I have endeavoured to remove. 

Lastly, I would send forth this book to the 
public with the same prayer with which the Pre- 
face to its predecessor concluded: "that the 
Spirit of Truth will regulate its influence upon 

xiv Preface. 

the hearts of those who read it, according as its 

teaching may be iound agreeable to the Mind of 


H. M L. 

t^e JTetUt of %%. %iiito« tun June. 1890. 

CoLLBOB, Elt. 



I. t^e dtate after Deatt a legitimate ^ub- 

lert of Jnquttp, • . . i 

II. 9n intermenfate ^tate bettneen Deatt) atiQ 
Jungment tauglbt i)p ^ctiptute ann tte 
Jfatl6et0, ..... 14 

III. 3letDij9{) Conceptions of tije ^tate after 

DeatI), ..... 27 

IV. Different Connitioniet ejcpre^sieli bg tide 

nififerent ^Designations, ... 36 

V. €ie )Disem!)oiiieii ^oul in a %tate of 

Consciousness, . , . .46 

VI. Rental ann JnteHectual Detielopmtnt in 

ttie Spiritual ^tate, • . • 54 

VII. tSfie purification of t^t Soul, . . 62 

VIII. fSit Doctrine of Purgatori^ in t%e Hatin 

Cturcti, . . • . • 75 

IX. tlPtie ^oul in Peace ano ^ecuritp, . S7 



xvi Table of Conlenls, 



X. ta:ie Special ^ini^triest of t\t %ou{s( of 

tte jfattiiful, ... 98 

XI. Mutual Recognition ann renetoen Com» 

panion^tip, . . . . .107 

XII. DifRtviititli createn bp t^e IBelief in iTutute 

Recognition, . . . .119 

XIII. Ct)ri0t'0 IDemcent into ^t\\ a biitne^i^ to 

tte Perfection of l^ist ^anlboon, . 127 

XIV. €^xi$V$ Pteactiing to ttie dpitit^ in Prison, 137 

XV. ^t Delitietance of doul^ from tte Limliud 

Patrum, . • 151 

XVI. €)e CDonsttitution of t^t 3Inbi0i!)Ie Ctutcl[), 162 

XVII. Posi0ibilitie0 of ^altiation for ttie l^eatl^en 

in tlie Slntetmeniate ^tate, .172 

XVII [. Pos(s(i!)ilitie0 for ottiertf tol^o tiate liian no 

Ptoliation in t\x^ Hife, . .187 

XIX. a ^econn Ptoliation incon^isitent \x^it\ 

Scripture, . . '197 

XX. €t)e Legitimacp of Praping for tliie Dean, 209 

XXI. Popular 0i)fection0 to tl^e Practice, . 217 

XXII. tElie Communion of ^aintm, . . 225 

XXIII. ^)yecific SSEapst in totiict Communion map 

te realisien, ..... 238 

Pa00age0 of Scripture ejcplaineo or quoten, . 251 

3Iniie]c, ....... 255 


^^t fetatt after 3Deatf) a ItsitintMt 
&ubiectof ^nquirp^ 

A GREAT preacher ^ who did much to rouse 
England from the sleep and torpor of the 
eighteenth century was often heard to complain that 
his utmost efforts to kindle the interest of his hearers 
in the mysteries of the unseen world invariably failed. The indif- 

f6T6iice of 

It is not surprising, therefore, to find that among our fathers 
the large number of sermons which he, as well as sible world, 
his more famous friend and contemporary, have be- 
queathed to posterity, there is only one extant 
which deals at all directly with the intermediate 
state.^ They lived in an age which was strongly 
averse to what would then have been accounted use- 
less speculations on the unknown and invisible ; but 
in these later times a vast change in this respect 
has passed over the minds of men. 

1 George Whitefield, the founder of the Calvinistic Methodists, 
was ordained priest in 1739 A.D., and died in 1770. 

a John Wesley died in 1791. He has left a sermon on the rich 
man and Lazarus. 

2 The State after Death a legitimate 

At' the great Catholic Kevival in England^ whic 
began about fifty years ago, the first thoughts c 
those who guided the action of the Church wei 
bent on the restoration of the material fabrics fo 
the beauty of worship, and on the reinstatement c 
Sacramental teaching in its rightful position. Bot 
of these objects have been largely secured, and w 
are now pressing on to the recovery of other intei 
ests and practices, which entered into the devo 
tional life of the early Christians ; we are trying, i 
short, to establish a veritable communion betwee: 
the Church militant here on earth, and the Churc! 
expectant now in Paradise. 
A revival of Unfortunately, together with this revived atter 
the unseen ^on to all that concerns the other world ther 
Ster^hnes. ^^ sprung up a strong and attractive tendency t 
realism, which is fraught with very dangerous con 
sequences, for if left unchecked it will succeed i 
materialising what is spiritual, and will make heave: 
itself of the earth earthy. 

When we enter upon the consideration of th 
future world, we ought to start with the convictio: 
that no man can possibly picture it as it actually it 
because all the conditions of it differ essentiall' 
from anything with which we have been hithert 
familiar. Our present faculties of apprehension ar 

Subject of Inquiry. 

adapted for a sphere of existence of quite another The neces- 

kind, and are necessarily unable to grasp with any to our com. 

degree of certitude what lies outside of it. Between ^^ ®^sioii. 

the material and the spiritual, between time and 

eternity, between the finite and the infinite, there is 

an impassable gulf. The spiritual sphere is designed 

for the habitation of spirits or for bodies upon 

which a mighty change will have passed, " tohett 

thi0 xxrrruptihU 0kall kab-e put tra inrorrtipticm, 

ani thi0 mxnrtal j^hall hab-e put tsxi immortalitg " : 

when, after the sleep of ages in the dust of death, 

that which was " j5iyton a nattiral biyig" shall "in 

a tmrmettt, in the ttoinkling of an vqz" be " rai^^ft 

a i5piritttal hixig."^ It is the realisation of this 

which helps to explain some perplexities connected 

with two important episodes in Scripture history^ 

viz., the rapture of S. Paul and the resurrection of 


The Apostle writes thus to the Corinthians : ^ *' I s. Paul's 
kmto a man in dhmt ab0b-e fimrt^m gtar^ ago, ^*p*^^®- 
(toheth^r in the h-aig, I rannat tell : jox toketker 
xmt jorf tke biyig I rannxrt tell : dob kniJtoetk :) 0ttrk 
an jone jcangkt np ^ ta tke tkirb keaben. ^nb I 

1 1 Cob. XV. 44, 52, 54. 2 2 Cor. xii. 2-4. 

3 "Up" has no equivalent in the original. It is simply d/wra- 
yivra and ijfyirdyrj els. . . . 

4 The State after Death a legitimate 

kneto ^tich a xatxi, (tohjether in the biyig ox otit xrf 
tlte h-alg, I jcanttat ijell ; (i0jb ktwrtorfk ;) koto tkat 
he toa0 jCEttgkt tt|r int^ irarabidje, anb kearb ttn- 
^pjeakabU toori^, tokirk it i^ ttot jriy00il)Ui tat a 
tttatt t0 titttr." 

S. Paul seems to have been perplexed by doubts 
whether he was carried away in the body and 
spirit, or in the spirit alone. It seems most pro- 
bable that it was a translation only of the disem- 
bodied spirit. Such a supposition, at least, helps 
to remove many difficulties. His spirit, then, was 
set free by God for a brief space from the prison- 
house which confined it, and as it passed within the 
veil there flashed upon his spiritual vision what no 
mortal eye had ever seen. The unearthly sounds of 
angel and archangel and all the host of heaven 
filled him with wonder ; but the moment his spirit 
recrossed the threshold, when his purely spiritual 
faculties and perceptions were superseded by those 
of the bodily organs, he was unable any longer to 
recall what he had witnessed ; there only remained 
a dim vague recollection of transcendent beauty, 

1 So it is in the margin of the A. V. In the PhUopatHs ascribed 
to Lucian there is a reference to this rapture, for the Apostle is 
described contemptuously as " the bald Galilean, with eagle beak, 
walking through the air to the third heaven." 

Subject of Inquiry. 

as when men dream in the night, but can give no 
shape to the vanished scene when they awake out 
of sleep. This is what he means when he says that 
in his rapture he had " ktarb tin0pjeak3ibU toxnri^ 
tohirh it te rtat p-a^^iJble tot a man ta titter." The 
spiritual was incomprehensible to the material : the 
infinite beyond the grasp of the finite. 

Again, the experience of Lazarus must have been The sUence 
of a similar kind, though S. Paul was admitted touchinghis 
into the third heaven as well as into Paradise, ences.^ 
Lazarus into the latter alone.^ For four days his 
unclothed spirit mingled with the vast crowd of 
departed spirits in the place where the souls of the 
righteous from the murdered Abel to the latest saint 
are awaiting the sound of the Archangel's trumpet 
to open the gates of heaven and let them in. What 
Lazarus saw there must have been less than what 
delighted the Apostle's vision, but it was equally 
unintelligible to mortal sight when his spirit had 
been brought back to the body it had left. 

We have often imagined ourselves standing by 
that opening grave, and have listened with an in- 
terest ever fresh to the voice which bade the dead 
come forth ; and as we have read the sacred record 
we have closed the Book with a sigh of regret that 

1 S. John zi. 11-46. 

6 The State after Death a legitimate 

not a word, not a syllable was spoken by the risen 
dead ; that although, as tradition tells us, he lived 
in that his second earthly life for thirty years, there 
is no recorded utterance, no related experience of 
the other world. Do we doubt whether he was 
asked for the revelation ? We fancy that we can 
see his neighbours and friends trying by every 
device to extract from him the awful secret, appeal- 
ing to him with almost passionate entreaty, but to 
all alike he turns the same unwavering look — the 
face that, awed by the visions of the past, was never 
seen to smile again — the silence never broken, the 
secret never revealed. 

" * Where wert thou, brother, those four days ? ' 
There lives no record of reply, 
Which telling what it is to die 
Had surely added praise to praise. 

from every house the neighbours met, 

The streets were fiird with joyful sound, 
A solemn gladness even crown'd 

,The purple brows of Olivet. 

Behold a man raised up by Christ ! 

The rest remaineth unreveal'd ; 

He told it not ; or something seal'd 
The lips of that Evangelist." ^ 

The reason of his silence is not far to seek. What 
sealed his lips was that which sealed S. Paul's 

^ Tennyson, In Memoriamt zxxi 

Subject of Inquiry. 

— ^the impossibility of telling in the body with any 
degree of accurate truth and reality what he had 
witnessed in the spirit. 

What then is to be our attitude towards the whole 
subject of the other world % Are we to feel that " no 
conclusions are to be drawn as to the eternal from the 
phenomena of time " 1 Are we to stand on the thresh- 
old, taking the shoes from off our feet in fear and 
trembling, but not daring to enter in % The very s. Paul's 
Apostle who had revealed the utter impossibility of ment to in- 
adequately describing what he had himself witnessed, the^utSe 
has assured us that the condition of departed spirits ^ ^ * 
is nevertheless a subject which we are more than 
justified in investigating : " I toxmlb not kabe gxra 
ta he ignorant, hrethren, jconaming tkem that are 
a^efleep";^ and after speaking of one thing that is 
in store for them, he bids the Thessalonians find 
comfort 2 in the thought of it. 

Yet further, it is just that one part of Holy 
Scripture which purports to be an apocalypse of 
future glory, and to portray the beauties of the 
New Heaven and the New Earth, to which the 
Holy Ghost has prefixed the promise : " Jfple00eb 
i0 he that reabeth, anb theg that hear the h)xn:b0 
0f tki0 propkerg."^ 

1 1 TflESS. iv. 13. a liM. 18. » Rev. i. 3. 

8 The State after Death a legitimate 

Again, it is surely not without a cause that so much 

has been made known touching the nature and work 

of the angels. There must be some analogy to be 

What may drawn, for they are described as " spirits," ^ the very 

be learnt 

from the word which is applied in Scripture to the souls of 
the angels, men in their separate existence after their bodies 
have been laid aside. It was to the " spirits " ^ in 
Hades that Christ passed Himself in " spirit," whUe 
His body was lying in the Sepulchre. The analogy, 
however, may not be complete, for it would appear 
that the angels have spiritual bodies, seeing that it 
is promised that in the Eesurrection, when, that is, 
we are to be clothed upon with our risen and glori- 
fied bodies, we shall be " equal unto the angels." ^ 

The difference, however, between disembodied 
spirits and beings with spiritual bodies, is not so 
great as to make us feel capable of grasping the 
one but not the other. 

Enough for purposes of reverent meditation is 

1 Hkb. i. 14. 2 1 s. Pet. iii. 19. 

8 S. Luke zx. 36. The question of the spiritual nature of the 
angels was much disputed in early times. S. Ignatius and 
Eusebius and S. Chrysostom maintained that they were dffdjfJLaroi, 
but Macarius assigned to them adjfiara Xeirrd. Didymus held 
that "in relation to man, they were incorporeal, but regarded in 
the light of their distance &om the essence of the uncreated 
spirits, they were heavenly bodies," de Spiritu SanctOy ii. 4. It 
was, no doubt, by reason of some subtle corporeity, that from 
time to time angels have been manifested to men. 

Subject of Inquiry. 9 

told ns, and it seems to be a mark of Divine wisdom 
that all has not been made plain, for if we could 
penetrate into the mysteries of the future world with 
any certain realisation of the truth, there would be 
no room for the exercise of that faith which is such 
a powerful factor in ordering our conduct. There 
is no stronger deterrent from evil than the awful 
uncertainty of the consequences of doing it, and 
there is no more helpful thought in urging us to 
ensure our salvation than the certainty that " (Egt 
katk ttot 0je^, nxnr ttx kjearb, natker habe zxAztzt 
xxAq the heart xrf man, tkje things tokuk (Sxrb 
hath ptjepar^b fxn: tkjetw that tabt ^im." ^ 

What is clearly forbidden is that profane and 
unspuitual curiosity which rushes boldly into the 
unseen world, that presumptuous confidence which 
claims to unravel all perplexities, and reduces the 
mysteries of the invisible to the level of common 

It behoves us never to forget that what is revealed 
is only imagery, employed by the Holy Spirit in con- 
descension to finite capacities, and that we may not What is 

revealed is 

therefore dwell upon the outside form or dress of only by 
spiritual things, as though a literal description had imagery. 
been vouchsafed. At the same time, it is equally 

1 1 Cob. ii. 9. 

lo The State after Death a legitimate 

incumbent on us not to put it aside in a spirit of 
agnosticism as a forbidden subject, for imagery, 
especially that which men have been inspired to use, 
must be the image of something, so that there must 
be underl3dng it ideas and forms, half-veiled, perhaps, 
and half-revealed, but still intended to express true 
and intense realities. 

As an illustration, we may take the sublime 
description of the heavenly Jerusalem as set forth 
in the Revelation.^ Let us look at it, in view of 
this consideration, both in its positive and its 
negative aspects, in what we are told is present, and 
in what is said to be absent. 
The ideas There are certain numbers to which the Jews 
by the attached, in a greater or less degree, the idea of 
S.John's perfection. They are 3 and 4, and that which 
"^°^* is produced both by the addition and the multipli- 
cation of them, 7 and 12. We cannot but be 
struck by the frequent occurrence of most of these. 
" ^ht jcitg lieth f ottc^quare." " ^he toall rf thje 
dig hab ttoelbe fxjunbati^n^," and it had twelve 
gates \ " 0n the tmi three gate^ : xm the ucrth three 
gates, ^n the 0X)tttk three gates : anb on the toest 
three gates." 

Again, look at the materials ; there is the jasper, 

1 Rev. xxi. 2. 

Subject of Inquiry. 1 1 

and sapphire, and emerald, and chrysoprasus, and 
many others; they are all the most costly and 
precious stones which were then known. The one 
tree, moreover, which represents the vegetable 
kingdom bears twelve manner of fruits and twelve 
times in the year. It is all intended to convey the 
idea, that whatever it may be, however inconceivable 
by finite capacities, it will be absolutely and entirely 
perfect; and this is certainly a true and intense 

Then take an example of its negative character- 
istics : ** I )5ato," says S. John, " ttxx temple themn." 
The Church of the Christians (as was the Temple of 
the Jews) is before all else the place where man is 
able to draw near to God with a full consciousness 
of His immediate Presence. There have, it is true, 
been other ideas associated with it, but they are all 
subsidiary and subordinate ; it may be regarded as 
( the place of illumination, where man is taught by 
the word of exhortation to walk in the path of 
holiness, or where by the sweet influence of sacred 
music he is lifted above all that is base and sensual, 
but the true paramount attraction of such a sacred 
building, that which invests it with a halo of sanctity, 
is simply this : it brings God nearer to man, and 


( makes him feel that at least there is one spot upon 


1 2 The State after Death a legitimate 

which he may stand, and with all the Patriarch's 
confidence say, "gltirela tkje $orb i0 in tki0 
|xka, . . . thi0 10 Xismz xrther hnt the hxmse 0f 
(gab, snb thi0 i0 the gate xrE heaben." ^ 

It shows us at once what the Holy Spirit in- 
tended us to understand by denying that there was 
any Temple in heaven, that is, any localised 
Presence of the Most High; it teaches that all 
heaven is hallowed into one vast Temple by 
the all-pervading Presence of God and Christ, 
" fxn: the Iporb (S^b ^Imigkta anb the '^txcA^ 
are the temple xrf it";^ this again is a great 

What we have constantly to bear in mind is, that 
it is only the idea that we may be sure of; its mode 
of expression may be found hereafter to be quite 
different from what our time-bound imagination has 
pictured to us. While, then, there is much to deter 
us, especially in the experience of S. Paul and 
Lazarus, there is sufficient encouragement from other 
considerations to try to form some conception of the 
mode of existence of disembodied souls. It is true, 
and we may not forget it, that " ^ke 0erret tkittg0 
belong mAss the Iforb " ; but it is equally true that 

1 Gkk. xxviii. 17. * Rbv. xxL 22. 

Subject of Inquiry. 13 

"^k00je things tohirh -sxt rtbtaljel) bjelcmg ttnta 
U0 anb to xmr rhillian fxrr jeber";^ and among 
these latter there is not a little touching the state 
after death. 

1 Deut. zziz. 29. 


SLn Intermetiiate &tate ftettoeen SDeatJ ana 
lutiffment tauffl&t 6p fecrCpture ana t]&e 

ACCORDING to the clear and explicit teaching of 
Holy Writ, the life of man is designed to be 
passed in three distinct spheres, or in three widely 
different conditions of being. First he lives a corporeal 
life in the flesh. In fallen man, it is a state of con- 
The three- ^^^^> ^^^ ^^® higher and the lower parts of his nature 
of man^^ are perpetually at war with each other. By reason 
^^®* of the strong and overmastering bias, which inherited 

sin has given to his desires and passions, it is a state 
in which the spirit groans, and is in bondage under 
the tyranny of the flesh.* 

Secondly, he has to live an incorporeal life in the 
spirit. For one who has resisted successfully in the 
preceding stage, it is a state of peace and security. 
Emancipated from the thraldom of carnal affections < 
and all that clogs and fetters his higher aspirations, 

1 Gal. v. 17. 


The Intermediate State. 15 

the spiritual element in his being is free to prepare 
itself, by a course of progressive advancement, for 
the goal of its ambition, the Vision of God. It will 
be obvious, therefore, that this state, like its pre- 
decessor, is an imperfect one. 

Thirdly, he will live in the risen life, in a state 
of victory and triumph; one in which the whole 
man, material and immaterial, body, soul, and spirit, 
will all be transfigured and conformed to the image 
of the Divine Life : it will be perfect and complete 
in all its parts. 

Now, the middle state, which we have character- 
ised as "in the spirit," is that in which the incor- 
poreal exists alone, but in both its constituent 
elements. We lose a great deal by speaking of 
man's being as twofold only, viz., body and soul, 
for S. Paul" has given us a true conception of it as 
triple ; " I prag (I0I) g^tir tokak spirit anb 00^1 
anb hxjig bt ^tmtt^zt \Xtxcit\tm vlxAq tke jcxmting 
0f xmr ||0rb Jt^u^ ffikri^t."^ This is no mere 
cumulative rhetorical expression, as it is too 
commonly understood ; but the Apostle intends to 

1 1 Thess. v. 23. The same is taught also in the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, where the author speaks of the Word of God piercing to 
the dividing of soul and spirit — not from each other, for they were 

i never one, but so as to penetrate the innermost being of each. — 

/ Ch. iv. 12. 

1 6 An Intermediate State taught 

bring before the Thessalonians authoritatively the 
triplicity ^ of man's nature by praying that all these 
elements severally, each in itself and in its entirety,^ 
may be kept without flaw or imperfection till the 
day of final award. 

What is meant by the body is easily grasped ; it 
is the form in which the immaterial is clothed ; it is 
the combination of physical organs, which through 
the disintegrating power of sin are liable to corrup- 
tion, decay, and death. It is destined to rise again, 
with all its earthly imperfections cast away, to be 
the dwelling-place of the spiritual, not as heretofore 
in dire and utter conflict, but in perfect and eternal 

The soul is that which constitutes man's person- 
ality ; it is the ego : ^ it is the assemblage of feelings, 
affections, and movements — not the organs of them 
— which make up the individual character. 

The spirit is the highest part of man's nature; 

1 Irenaeus interpreted this passage as teaching a threefold 
nature. Neque onim plasmatic camis ipsa secundum se homo 
perfectus est ; sed corpus hominis et pars hominis. Neque enim 
et anima ipsa secundum se homo; sed anima hominis et pars 
hominis. Neque spiritus homo. Spiritus enim, et non homo 
vocatur. Commixtio autem et unitio horum omnium, perfectum 
hominem efficit. — Ad/o. Hcer. v. vi 1. 

2 oKbKkripov is not an attribute as A.V. indicates, but "a 
secondary predicate." 

8 Cf. Dblitzsoh, BibL Psychologie, iv. Sec. 1. 


by Scripture and the Fathers. 1 7 

it is that which God breathed from Himself into 
Adam's nostrils ^ at the beginning ; it is that which 
constitutes the new birth, the gift of Holy Baptism 
now ; it is, in short, that by which we hold com- 
munion with the Divine Spirit ; for " %\it spirit 
itejelf h^aretk toittte00 toitk qvx spirit, that tot are 
the rkilir^ xrf (S^i." 2 

The task which we have set before ourselves is 
the right understanding, as far as it is revealed, of 
the mode of existence of the immaterial, that is the 
soul and the spirit, in their separation from the 
body during the time that intervenes between death 
and judgment. Such an interval was vividly real- 
ised by the early Church, but strangely ignored if 
not denied at the time of the Eeformation. 

The Homily against Fear of Death says, " that The Teach- 
death delivering us from our bodies, doth send us nffi! 
straight home into our own country, and maketh us 
to dwell presently with God for ever in everlasting 
rest and quietness." ^ 

It was indorsed by the Assembly of divines, who Of the 

. . Westmin- 

met at Westminster just a century later to settle, as ster Confes- 

1 fir\a<T€v 6 debs rhv dpdpcjTOV . . . xal wveOfia ivijKev airrcfi Kal 

yl/vxfyf' JosBPmjs, Antiq. i. 1. 2. For Rabbinical expositions 

of this and the meaning of the Spirit bestowed upon Adam, cf. 

EiSENMENGEB, Entdecktes JudenthuTrif i. 887. Bp. Bull, State 

of Man before the FaH, il 93. 

a Rom. viii. 16. » Book i. ix., part 2. 



1 8 An Intermediate State taught 

they thought, the Creed and Worship of the Church 
in this land. They laid it down as a dogma that 
" the souls of the righteous being then (i.e. at death) 
made perfect in holiness, are received into the highest 
heavens, where they behold the face of God in light 
and glory ; . . . and the souls of the wicked are cast 
into hell, where they remain in torments and utter 
darkness " ; and they added with a startling reck- 
lessness of fact the positive assurance that " besides 
these two places for souls separated from their 
bodies, the Scripture acknowledgeth none." ^ 

It was a tremendous recoil; in their dread of 
Purgatory they obliterated Paradise, and were ready 
to annihilate all thought of the Eesurrection, and to 
treat the body, which has been hallowed for ever, as 
of little account, and to send the soul by itself into 
the place of eternal joy or misery. 

There can be little doubt that their teaching 
largely leavened the belief of succeeding generations; 
and it has taken a complete hold upon most Non- 
conformist Christians, who regard the tenets pro- 
pounded at Westminster as equally binding and 
authoritative as the decrees of a general council are 

^ C. xxzii. Of the State of Man after Deaths etc., Act. L 
It had been maintamed in the Calvinist Confession of the 
previous centnry : "we believe that unbelievers are cast down at 
once into hell." The Second Helvetic Confession, chap. xxvi. 

by Scripture and the Fathers. 19 

upon churchmen. The antithesis of heaven or hell 
sums up the whole of their thoughts of the state 
after death. 

What then is the evidence of Scripture as to the 
existence of an Intermediate State between death 
and judgment ? 

There is first direct evidence. Our blessed Lord Direct 
positively asserted that « nxr man katk mtz^t^ ttp f^^r' 
ta keabttt hut Ipje that tsxat i^ton Ir0m keab^n, termediate 
ebm tlu §xm rf man. tohirh i« in heaim."^^*"*^ 

Further, after that He had passed through the grave 
and gate of death He said of Himself, " I am tix)t 
get a^jceni^i t^ Jttg 4f atk^r, but 90 1^ Jttg brethren, 
anb 0aB nnt^ tkein, I a0renb xhxAq Jttg Jfatker, anb 
5|0tir $,tA\itx'' 2 It is clear from this latter declara- 
tion that in the disembodied state His soul had not 
passed into the heavens. It had, as we learn from 
His promise to the robber-outlaw, departed to the 
waiting-place of righteous souls, to the Paradise of 
the blessed, and it was not till after His Kesurrec- 
tion, when His human spirit had been united again 
to His body, that He entered heaven. Christ again 
teaches us that the souFs immediate destiny is not 
heaven or hell, for when Lazarus died he " toa« rar- 
tieb bg tk^ angd^ xxAa ^brakam')5 b^^xnn."^ It is 

1 S. John iii 13. a S. Jem? xx. 17. » S. Luke xvi. 22. 


20 An Intermediate State taught 

told us, it is true, in the form of a parable, and this 

circumstance has been supposed to open a way of 

escape from its obvious teaching, but it must not be 

TheParable forgotten, that whatever doubts may hang about the 

of Ijlifi in^cli 

man and details of parabolic illustration, the scope at least of 
the parable must be indisputable. Now it certainly 
belongs to the scope of this parable to show what 
becomes of the souls of men immediately after death. 
If it does not teach us this, it is difficult indeed to 
discover for what purpose it was spoken. It has 
been suggested that it may have been an anticipatory 
picture of the final state, but the suggestion is not 
at all borne out by the language. The rich man 
clearly assumes that the Judgment has not yet come, 
for he speaks of his brethren as still undergoing 
their earthly probation, and as capable of receiving 
warning to avoid a similar fate to his own. 

The positive teaching of our Lord is accepted and 
its truth pre-supposed in the Apostolic Epistles. 
The teach- Writing to the Thessalonians S. Paul speaks of him- 
s!^Paul. self and others who might survive to the Second 
Advent in words that necessitate the existence of a 
middle state : " thm to-e tohirk ar^ aXib-e anb umain 
0haU ht raugkt up tagether toitk f hem in the 
d0tti0, t0 mwt the Horb in the air."^ "With 

1 1 Thbss. iv. 17. 

by Scripture and the Fathers. 2 1 

them " — it is with some who have fallen asleep and 
are somewhere waiting to come forth at the voice 
of the Archangel to receive their final reward in 
heaven. The same is involved in the contrast 
which he draws between the two conditions as being, 
on the one hand, "at kxnne in the bxria" and 
" ab^mt ixQXCi th-e ICxnrb," or, on the other, " ab^jent 
from the b0ig" and "ptje^mt toitk the Ifxnrb."^ 
The latter condition can be none other than that 
which follows death, in which the disembodied 
soul is " with Christ " in Paradise. 

It is expressly said that the fathers of the Old 
Dispensation, who had died in faith, did not at once 
receive the promise, but were compelled to wait in 
an incomplete state, " that theg toitkxmt ti0 0kcmlii 
not b^ mabe yerfert." ^ 

Lastly, the veil of the unseen world is partially The souls 
lifted in the Apocalypse, when the rapt Apostle sees martyrs 
the souls of the martyrs who had laid down their jng. 
lives for the word of God. He does not see them 
already admitted into the courts of heaven, but wait- 
ing for the consummation " ttnitc the alf ar," and 
crying, " Ig^Jto long, (D Ipcri, hcrXg attb trttje, l)00t 

1 2 Cor. v. 6, 8. That this expression does not refer to being 
with God the Father, cf. w%/ra, p. 63. 
3 Heb. xi. 40. 

22 An Intermediate State taught 

^hum ttxrt jttbjje anb atmje mir hl00]b xm tktm that 
btojell xm the jearth ? " ^ In answer to their cry 
they are bidden to "re0t gjet for a littk 0jea00n; 
ttntil their feUato-0jertant0 al00 . . . 0h0ttlb be 
fttlfilLeb/' which is quite inconsistent with the 
supposition that the gate of death leads direct to 

There is a passage which seems at first sight to 
support thef view of those who deny the Intermediate 
State ; " it i0 aiJpjointjeb mAa mm oxitz ia bie, btit 
aft-er tht0 thje jubgmmt." ^ In the original Greek 
the definite article is wanting, and the absence of it 
is very significant, for it is invariably prefixed to 
the noun in all the passages where that judgment is 
clearly spoken of, which is to decide finally the 
eternal destiny. What the author of the Epistle 
teaches is, that death is immediately followed by a 
judgment or crisis ; but it can only be that by which 
the place of the soul is determined in Hades or the 
Intermediate State. 

When we turn to the primitive Church to see 
what interpretation was put upon the teaching of 

1 Rev. vi. 10. 

3 It is difficult to reconcile the teaching of this passage with the 
Roman view of Purgatory ; for it is held that martyrs are ex- 
empted from the state of purification, being admitted at once to 
the Beatific Vision. » Hbb. ix. 27. 

by Scripture and the Fathers, 2 3 

Scripture on this point, we find an unbroken chain 

of evidence in support of the Catholic belief. 

Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho, com- Patristic 

, testdmoiiy* 

bats certain Gnostics who said "that there is no 

resurrection^ but that when men die their souls are 

at once taken up to heaven;"^ and he denies to Justin 

them in consequence the right to be accounted ^' 

Christians or even Jews. In an earlier part of the 

same treatise he asserted that after death " the souls 

of the godly abide in some better place, and the 

souls of the unrighteous and wicked in a worse 

place, expecting the time of the judgment" ^ 

Irenseus vindicated the Catholic doctrine against Ireiueiis. 

some who professed the same heresy, as well as 

against some who, though for the most part orthodox 

in the faith, had fallen into error in a reaction against 

the prevailing Millenarianism of the time. "The 

souls," he says, " of His (Christ's) disciples go to the 

invisible place determined for them by God, and there 

dwell awaiting the resurrection."^ He has been show- 

1 X^yovffi fi^ elvai dvdffTaffLp, dXXd dfia Tip dtrodvi^ffKcw, rds 
\lnrx,ds airr&v dvakafi^dvctrOai eh rbv oiipavhy, fi^ iiroXd^TiTe 
airroiis Xpurrlavovs &(nr€p oiidk *lovbaiovi, — Dialog, c. Tryph, 
p. 307, ed. Paris. 

• rAs fjJ^v tQv ciffepGiv iv KpelrTovi voi x^PV tJ^veiVf tAs 5^ 
dtUovi Kol TTOVTipdi iv x^^povc, rbv ttjs Kpitretas iK^exoiUvat 
Xp6pov t6t€. — id, 223. 

• al ^fwxa-l difipxovrai, els . . . rhv t&itop rhv CapurpAvov airrous 

24 An Intermediate State taught 

ing how our Lord observed the law of the dead, and 
went to the place " where the souls of the dead were," 
and he anticipates the same lot for them : '^ Jfcr the 
bi0dpU i0 not ah^tje hi0 <|tta0tjer, htit etjerg 0nje 
that 10 TftxizA 0haU be a0 ht0 Jtta0ter." ^ 

There was an anonymous book written, some think 
by one of the above Fathers, others by a contem- 
porary, on " the Nature of the Universe," ^ which 
deals at length with the Intermediate State, show- 
ing that the souls of the righteous and unrighteous 
were detained in Hades, but not in the same place ; 
there was but one passage into it, but when the 
gate was passed the one went to the right hand into 
Abraham's bosom, the other to the left, to a place 
of misery, and that they remained there until the 
time appointed by God. 

Tertullian wrote a treatise. Be Paradiso, which 
Tertullian. has been unhappily lost, for the express purpose of 
showing that " all souls were sequestered in Hades 
till the day of the Lord." « 

dir6 Tov GeoO, Kq.K€L fiexpi ttjs dvaardcetoi <povrG><n vcpkyAvovaai 
tV &v6j(Trafny.—Adv, Boer. v. xxxi. 2. 

1 S. Luke vL 40. 

' Besides the above it was assigned to Origen and Cains. Pear- 
son quotes several extracts from it. — Cf. Creed j Art. v. 239, notes. 
For the above quot cf. GaUand. Bibl. pp. t. 2, p. 451. 

> Quo constituimus oninem animam apad Inferos sequestrari 
in diem Domini — De Anima, c 55. 


by Scripture and the Fathers. 2 5 

Lactantius says, ** Let no man think that souls Lactantius. 
are judged immediately after death : all are detained 
in one common place of safe-keeping until the time 
comes when the Supreme Judge shall make his 
scrutiny." ^ 

S. Hilary speaks very decidedly : " As the day S. Hilary, 
of judgment is the eternal award either of joy or 
punishment, so the hour of death orders the interval 
for every man by its own laws, consigning him either 
to Abraham or to punishment until the judgment ;" ^ 
and in another place he says that all the faithful are 
reserved for the interval in the safe-keeping of the 
Lord in Abraham's bosom, and guarded from the 
intrusion of ungodly souls by an interposing gulf, 
till the times come for their entrance into heaven.^ 

Lastly, S. Augustine testifies that " during the s. Augus- 
interval between death and the final resurrection 
men's souls are kept in hidden receptacles, according 

1 Nee tamen quisquam putet animas post mortem protiiius 
judicari ; omnes in nna communique custodia detinentur donee 
tempus adveniat quo mazimus ludez faciat ezamen. — Instit. Div. 
iii. 21. 

2 ludicii dies vel beatitudinis retributio est aetema vel poenae ; 
tempus vero mortis habet unumquemque suis legibus, dum ad 
judieium unumquemque aut Abraham reservat aut poena. — In 
Ps. ii. ad. Jin. 

3 In sinu seilicet interim Abrahse eoUoeati ; quo adire impios, 
interjectum ehaos inbibet quousque introeundi sursum in regnum 
coelorum tempus adveniat. — In Pa. czz. 

26 The Intermediate State. 

as they severally deserve rest or trouble."^ It 
follows upon this testimony, which might have been 
largely increased ^ if necessary, that the Westminster 
divines committed an egregious blunder in prac- 
tically obliterating the Intermediate State, and 
showed the most profound ignorance both of Scrip- 
ture and of primitive literature. It remains for us 
now to consider how far, from what has been re- 
vealed, we may form conceptions of the mode of life 
in which the souls of the faithful pass their time of 
waiting in Paradise. 

1 Tempus quod inter hominis mortem et tdtimam resurrection- 
em interpositum est, animas abditis receptaculis continet, sicut 
unaquaeqne digna est vel requie vel aerumna. — Enchirid. ad Laur, 

2 Tebt. adv. Marc. iv. 31. Origbn, de Frincip. iv. 23. Hip- 
POLYTUS, Fra{/. adv. Qrascos, i S. Hieron. in Os. xiii. 14, 
S. Aug. de Civ, Deif xii. 9. Epist. Ivii. or clxzzvii. 


3|etDi£(]b Conception^ of t^t &tate after 


VARIOUS opinions have been held about the extent 
of knowledge possessed by the ancient Hebrews 
on the doctrine of immortality and the state after 
death. The revelation of it seems to have been 
vouchsafed gradually from the beginning. We are 
able to trace it running like a thread through the The revela- 
pages of the Old Testament, hardly noticeable at future life 
first, but becoming clearer and clearer, till at last it ^velop^. 
stands out conspicuous in its distinctness. 

The Patriarchs must have gathered from the trans- 
lation of Enoch, whom " (Sob to^k," that death was 
not the end of all things. The Israelites in Egypt 
would learn something from the continued relation 
of God to their fathers, expressed in the title by 
which He revealed Himself, " the (Sob ot Abraham, 
the (Sob ot l0aai:, mb the (Sob ot Jfaorh." ^ 

In the case of some favoured ones, their spiritual 

^ Ex. iii. 15 ; iv. 5. 


28 Jewish Conceptions of the 

instincts seem at times almost to have enabled them 
to anticipate the full revelation. What, for instance, 
could appear clearer, if read by itself, than Job's 
declaration of his certainty that his Redeemer 
would vindicate his cause hereafter, and grant him 
the Vision of God?^ What again more assuring 
than David's assertion that at the great awakening 
he would be satisfied with the likeness of God,^ or 
that, though the wicked should have death for their 
shepherd, yet God would redeem his soul from the 
power of the grave % ^ But there are signs that even 
these apparently positive utterances were not based 
on a distinct revelation \ had they been so, both Job 
and David were guilty of culpable disbelief: the 
one, when he cried in the depth of despondency, 
" ^ketje i0 kopje at a ixtt, if it hje ntt boton, that 
it ioill 0prottt again, anb that the tcttb^ hranrk 
tkerjerrf ioiU not ttsn&t, . . . ^ut man bietk anb 
ioa^tetk aioag : g^a, man jibetk up the jjkxr0t, anb 
iokerje x% ke?" * the other when he complained in his 
sickness, "in bjeatk tkerje i0 no r^mjembrana -of 
%\izt : in tke graijje, toko jskall gibje ^keje tkanfe0 ? " ^ 

Job xix. 25, 26. a pg. xvij. 14 

3 Ps. xlix. 14, 16. A.V. "Death shaU feed on them." The above 
is the rendering of the LXX. version, and is far more forcible. 
LXX. davaTh^ TroLfiaveZ airroCs. Symm. pefiTfjcei a&roj^s. Jerome, 
pascet eos. * Job xiv. 7, 10. b Ps. vi. 6. 

State after Death, 29 

The prophets, who were expressly appointed to Distinct 
declare the Will of God, exhibit no trace of such of the 
ambiguity, but speak with unfaltering voice. Hosea^ ^"'^ ® * 
and Isaiah 2 unfolded the truth with increasing clear- 
ness, till at last Ezekiel,^ with his vivid description 
of the valley of dry bones, and the definite language 
of Daniel,* satisfy us that a full realisation of the 
resurrection-life had taken possession of the people. 
There is a somewhat similar correspondence in their Earliest 
conceptions of the Intermediate State. At first Jitenne- ^ 
those who believed that the soul would survive the.^*®®*^**®' 
shock of death, thought, for the most part, that it 
would pass to an invisible place of gloom and sad- 
ness : one, moreover, in which the condition of the 
disembodied soul admitted of no change or amelio- 

Here and there, it is true, we see a ray of sun- 
light let in upon the darkness, when the historian 
records the fall of some hero of the people, such 
as Abraham or Moses or Jacob, and hints at 
the joy of reunion with his ancestry by telling 
that "ke iuasf gatkorjeb to hi0 father0."^ David 

1 Hos. xiii. 14. 2 ISA. xxvi. 19. 

« EzEK. xxxvii. 1-14. * Dan. xil. 2. 

5 Gen. XV. 15 ; xxv. 8, 17 ; xxxv. 29 ; xlix. 29. Deut, xxxii. 
60. The Targum of Jonathan interprets the expression in a two- 
fold sense, of the body lying down with his fathers, and the sonl 

30 yewish Conceptions of the 

again finds comfort in the thought that in death he 
would be reunited to his lost child.^ But for the 
vast majority who died, the grave or the region to 
which they passed was "the lattb xrf fxrcgetfiil- 
tte00," where there is no " kttatolebjjje turr iDi0]b0m," 
Character- for " aU tkitt80 axje fxrcjjirltm." Job ^ could regard 
gloom and it as the "lanb rrf ]barfene00 anb the 0hab0to of 


bjeatk." To the Psalmist^ it was a place where the 
voice of praise and thanksgiving was for ever 
hushed ; to Hezekiah * it was a pit of despair, where 
they that go down " canttot lurp-e fxnr ^kg tmtk." 
To others,^ again, it was a yawning gulf, or an 
insatiable monster of remorseless cruelty and all- 
deyouring rapacity. 

Then there is another dreary aspect in which the 
Jews regarded the state after death; according to the 
earlier belief, the region into which the disembodied 
soul passed was the same for all ; there was no dis- 
tinction between the just and the unjust ; all alike 
went to one place ; it was " a lanb rrf barfene00 . . . 
toitkxmt ang xrrb-er, attb tokerje the ligkt i0 a0 bark- 

being laid up in the treasury of life with his fathers : but in some 
cases, e.^., in Abraham's and Moses', the body was not buried in 
the sepulchre of their fathers. 

1 2 Sam. xii 23. 2 Jqb x. 22. « Ps. vl 5. 

♦ ISA. xxxviii. 18. 

5 Pbov. i 12 ; XXX. 16. SoNO OF Solomon viii. 6. Isa. v. 14. 

State after Death, 3 1 

tU00." ^ Even when man's conscience asserted itself 
and protested against the possibility of an equal lot 
for good and bad beyond the grave, Sheol was 
still only a loss and deprivation compared with 
the happiness of their earthly life. Once and 
again, it is true, the candle of the Lord seemed 
for a moment to illuminate the darkness of their 
condition, for we hear David rejoicing in the con- 
viction that God would not abandon his soul to 
Hades for ever, nor suffer the saints whom He loved 
" \ss 9izz'' that is, perhaps, in Jewish phraseology, to 
abide in " torrttptiatt." ^ 

After the Captivity the conception of the Inter- The dawn 
mediate State underwent an important change. Amid hopes, 
the troubles of their earthly lot the minds of men 
became more fixed on the future, and greater pro- 
minence was given to the idea of a judgment to 
come; and in proportion as the certainty of this 
was realised their thoughts of Hades took more 
definite shape. They felt that it could not possibly 

1 Job X. 22. 

2 Cf. Ibeiv T^v ^u)^v — not only to live, but to continue to live. 
It might have been said of Our Lord's Body that the process of 
disintegration did not even commence, but not of David's, though 
the Jews had or invented a tradition that it was preserved from de- 
cay. " Corruption" is, according to LXX., dia</>dopdu> : a commoner 
meaning of the Hebrew word is **the pit," but then the prediction 
was not fulfiUed in either case, for both David and our Blessed 
Lord were buried. 

3 2 yewish Conceptions of the 

be a promiscuous place of assembly for all who died ; 
if the time of probation closed with death, the result 
of it could not henceforth be ignored, though the 
final award might be still delayed. Hence arose the 
belief in an anticipatory separation of the good and 
bad, and the division of Hades into two localities, 
the higher and the lower. As time went on numer- 
ous subdivisions were created. If in the future 
heaven there were to be " many mansions," so it 
might be also in the Intermediate State. Indications 
of such a plurality of places were found in the 
language of the Old Testament ; at least it was so 
interpreted to meet the later views. For instance, 
in Isaiah : ^ " ^hg b^ab xcivx 0kaU lite, t0jjjetker 
toitk mg bjeab h^bg 0haU tkeg art^je. ^toalie attb 
sAxi% ge that btoeU in the btt0t : for thg beto i0 
a0 the beto xrf kerb^, anb the eartk 0kaU ra^t Jtmt 
the beab. Come, mg people, enter than int^ tkg 
rkamber^, anb jsknt tkg b0xrr0 ab^nt tkee: kibe 
tkg0elf, a0 it ioere, fxrr a little xciQxazxA, until tke 
inbignatioit he -aberpa^t." The Jews of our Lord's 
time 2 understood the former part as referring to the 
final resurrection, and mystically interpreted the 
"chambers" as signifying the dijfferent receptacles 
of the souls of the righteous, where they awaited 
1 xxvi. 19, 20. 2 cf. Bull's Works, vol. i. p. 64. 

State after Death. 33 

the day of judgment. So also in the Apocryphal 
Book of Esdras ^ we meet with the ssCme expression, 
where the souls of the righteous, almost echoing 
the cry of the souls which S. John saw " ttnb^ the 
altar/' are represented " in their chambers " as ask- 
ing, "How long shall I hope on this fashion? 
When cometh the fruit of the floor of our reward % 
And unto these things Uriel, the Archangel, gave 
them answer and said. Even when the number of 
seeds is filled in you." The souls of men are no 
longer mingled as on earth, but each one goes to his 
own chamber or appropriate state. 

Then we meet in Eabbinical writings and else- 
where, with a variety of names for the separate 
localities, and to each, in a greater or less degree, 
there seems to have been assigned some special and 
befitting significance. At times it appears that they 
were considei*ed, as we have said, to indicate differ- 
ent localities, but the truer conception is that they 

1 2 EsDR. iv. 35, 36. In the lately recovered portion of this 
Book there is a very sharp antithesis drawn between the state of 
the faithful and unfaithful in the Intermediate State : ** Those 
who have despised and not kept the way of the Most High" will 
be in a condition of ceaseless pain and sorrow ; but those who 
have observed His laws *' wiU be kept in rest" till He shaU renew 
the Creation. This last portion is referred to by some of the early 
Fathers. A MS. of it of the ninth century was discovered by Mr. 
Bensly, Fellow of Caius College, Cambridge, not long ago at Amiens. 

34 Jewish Conceptions of the 

Diflferent were designed to express diflferent states or conditions 


expressed of happiness or misery. 

by different 

titles. On the one side,i we read of Paradise or the 

Garden of Eden, of Abraham's bosom, of souls under 
the Altar or under the Throne of Glory. 

On the other side, of Hades ^ or sometimes 
Gehenna.^ Before any distinction was made between 
the receptacles of the good and the bad, the general 

^ term for the Intermediate State was SheoL* Its 


Sheol. etymology implies simply that it was a hollow or 
low-lying place, the vault beneath, as the firmament 
was the vault above, hence the Latin equivalent 
for it is either infen or inferna. It is used also in 
the more limited sense of the grave or pit, in which 
the body was laid. It is worthy of note that it was 
not employed by the Jews, after they conceived of 

1 Cf. Wktstein and Schottgen, Heb. Hor. in Luc. xxiii. 

2 Thus, the rich man lifted up his eyes "in Hades." — S. Luke 
xvi. 23. Often called "the depth of Hades," to indicate that all 
Hades was not the place of the wicked. 

8 More generally regarded as the final place of torment: the 
scene of the " lake of fire." There is no good authority for Rabbi 
Kimchi's assertion that the figure of the undying worm was sug- 
gested from its being the place of refuse for the city. It was the 
scene of the cruel worship of the fire-gods. 

4 Sheol occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures 65 times. In the Auth. I 
Version it is rendered Hell, or grave, each 31 times, pit 3 times. 
In the R. V. it is treated as a proper name, and left untranslated 
30 times ; it is translated Hell and grave, each 15 times, and pit 
5 times. In the LXX., it is nearly always rendered "Adris, 

State after Death. 3 5 

separation after death, to represent the abode of 
those who were in a state of happiness. It was 
invariably restricted to be the expression of their 
gloomiest belief. 

Its natural rendering in the English language is Its equiva- 
hell, which carries with it no necessary idea of English. 
torment or suffering; it is simply a hole that is 
covered over, from helleUy to cover or roof in,^ but 
in modern phraseology we have taken it out of its 
original sphere of use, and relegated it to be the 
abode of lost souls, adopting the term Hades, or the 
unseen region, to express generally the whole spirit- 
world; though even here it is more commonly 
limited, in Christian terminology, to that part where 
the souls of the faithful " are in joy and felicity." 

We next consider the appropriate ideas of the 
special designations. 

1 Hence, ** one that covers a house with tiles or slates is called 
a hellier," cf. Usher's Ans. to a Jesuit^ p. 219. This use of the 
word is still retained in the West of England, 


3Dtffer(nt Conliition? ejcpre00eli bp i^t 
titfferent i9Dt0ig:nation0^ 

WHEN the Jews conceived of the souls of the 
righteous as being in joy and happiness, it 
was not unnatural that they should designate the 
place in which they supposed them to abide, the 
Garden of Eden or Paradise. They had no higher 
conception of enjoyment than that which was 
associated with the times of man's innocence, and 
The Garden with the garden which the Lord had planted for 
Paradise?' his dwelling-place with His Own hand ; and though 
he had been excluded from it for his disobedience, 
there were promises handed down through the 
history of the nation which seemed to point to his 
restoration to it. 

In Hebrew it was the Garden of Eden, that is, 
the garden of delight or pleasure; but when the 
Alexandrine Jews made their translation of the 
Scriptures, finding no exact equivalent in the Greek 

Conditions expressed by Designations. 37 

tongue, they used an expressive word of Persian 
origin, Paradise.-^ Henceforward, both titles were 
used promiscuously for the waiting-place of the 

In the Talmud we read that the unseen world " is 
called Paradise under the signification of the Garden 
of Eden, which is reserved for the just." ^ The 
Chaldee Paraphrast ^ of the Song of Songs asserts that 
no man is capable of admission therein but the just, 
whose souls are carried thither by the hands of the 
angels. Those who were privileged after death to 
see God, and ascend into the hill of the Lord, 
were divided into seven classes or degrees, to each 
one of which the Jews said "there was allotted a 
proper place in the Garden of Eden." * 

The Midrash of the Psalms interprets " the tree 
planted by the water side'* of "Abraham whom 
God took and planted in the Garden of Eden, or 
Paradise." It was said of the next most highly 
esteemed of the Patriarchs, "our master Moses 
departed into the Garden of Eden." ^ 

From these quotations we see that the titles were 

1 In LXX., 6 wapadeTaos TTjs rpv^TJs, cf. Xenophon's Anab. I 
2, § 7, 4, § 9, ii. 4, § 14. Cyrop. i. 3, § 14. 

2 LiGHTFOOT, HorcB HebraiccB, vol. xii. 203, S. Luc, xxiii. 43. 
s Quoted by Bull, i. iii. 64. * Lightf., ibidem, 
5 Lightf., Hot. Heb. S. Luc. xvi. 22 

38 Different Conditions expressed 

employed for the most part indifferently to express 

one and the same locality, but there is little doubt 

that they were intended at times to convey separate 

ideas of the Intermediate State. 

The A paradise was primarily a park or pleasure- 

prim &ry 
meaning of ground, woody and well watered, with its natural 

Pftrti di sft 

beauties undestroyed. To an Oriental it would be 
more, far more, suggestive of rest and refreshment 
than the most beautiful or well-ordered garden; 
for though the latter contained much to delight the 
eye, in a hot and sultry climate nothing could be 
more grateful than the combination of umbrage- 
ous trees and cooling streams afforded by the 

This was probably the thought uppermost in the 
Jewish mind, till the later Palestinean Jews reverted 


secondary to the image of a garden, and depicted it in most 
sensuous colours, with all that was alluring to the 
eye and sweet to the taste, with its streams, not of 
cooling water but of milk and honey, with its trees 
laden with every kind of fruit, and its hill-sides 
covered with lilies and roses.^ 

The former was the view accepted and indorsed 
by our Lord \ no doubt there was associated with 
it much that was fanciful, somewhat, perhaps, even 

^ 2 EsDBAs ii. 19. 


by the different Designations. 39 

misleading, in the Jewish anticipation of Paradise, 
but the main idea was true, and He was content to 
adopt it in the full knowledge that through His 
indorsement after due correction it would find a 
place in the phraseology of the Church. He fore- 
saw, doubtless, that it would soon be purged from 
all those conceptions of earthly and material enjoy- 
ments which attracted so greatly the mind of the 

In a treatise that has been attributed to Justin 
Martyr ^ it is spoken of as a place where all faithful 
souls would have the vision of saints and angels, and Patristic 
of Christ Himself. Irenseus ^ dwells upon the before- term, 
mentioned fact that the life to be spent in it would 
recall the times of man's innocence and perfect 
obedience. Origen,^ Tertullian,* S. Chrysostom,^ and 
others,^ freely adopt the term in their writings. 

There can be little doubt that the prominent idea, 
brought out in the numerous notices of Paradise, 
both Jewish and Christian, but more especially the 
latter, was that of rest and refreshment ; and it is 

1 Mo. ffvvTV^a. T€ Kal dia dyyiXwv re Kal dpxa77^X«»' icar* 
dirTafflav 8k Kal ^(arijpos Xpiarov. Qucest. et Resp. ad Orthodox. 

2 Adv. Hobr. V. 6. » de Princip. ii. 6. * de Anima, 65. 
5 Horn, i., ih, de Cruce et Latron, § 2. 

* S. Cypbian, de Mortal. § ult. S. Ambrose, de bono Mortis^ 
c. xii. 

40 Different Conditions expressed 

worthy of notice that this sense is most obvious 
Our Lord's ill the solitary instance ^ in which our Lord is 
iise It. recorded to have used it. 

It was to one who was racked by pain, and con- 
sumed by the intolerable thirst which is inseparable 
from death by crucifixion, and seeking for comfort 
and relief, that He held out the promise, " ^xr-bag 
0halt thxm hje toith xcit in JParabi^^." It would be 
difficult to conceive of any assurance more calculated 
to alleviate the unrest and agony that he was then 

Such, then, being the leading conception of 
Paradise, we pass to another term that was used 
with equal frequency alike by Jew and Christian, 
" Abraham^s bosom." 

The mention of Abraham suggests in the first 
instance continuity in the covenant of God and 
union with the Father of the faithful ; but the 
Abraham's figure of Abraham^s bosom or lap carries on the 
'°'°"" thoughts to a fellowship of joy and pleasure. The 
imagery is borrowed from the feast or social meal at 
which the Jews were wont to recline rather than sit 
and to lay their heads each on his neighbour s lap.^ 
It was accounted a mark of the closest intercourse, 

1 S. Luke xxiii. 43. 

3 Sinus preesuppouit convivium. Bengel, S. Liike xvi. 22. 

by the different Designations. 41 

and the recollection of the high privilege enjoyed by 
the favoured Apostle was perpetuated by the title 
that was given to him, d iTna-TijOio^, " the one that 
lay on the breast." ^ 

Such companionship with Abraham was held out 
as the reward of every righteous Jew hereafter. 
When the Kabbis wished to describe the condition 
after death of Judah, who for his surpassing piety 
was designated " the holy," they summed it all up 
in the brief but pregnant assertion : '* this day he 
rests in the bosom of Abraham." ^ 

There is a touching story preserved in the 
Apocryphal history,^ which shows what was 
considered the highest bliss for a departing soul. 
After the mother of the seven martyrs had seen 
six of her children put to death before her eyes, she 
entreated the Emperor to spare her the pain of 
witnessing the death of her latest bom, but finding 
that he was inexorable, she clasped her best beloved 
one in her arms and with passionate words cried out 
in the anguish of her soul, " Go thou, my child, to 
Abraham, thy father." 

1 Cf. Suicer's Thesaurus. In Typico Sabse, c. xxiii. p. 50. In 
Menologio, mense Septembri, die xxvi. 

2 LiQHPT., ut supra. 

3 2 Macc. vii. It is recorded also, with the addition here given, 
in the Midrash Echah. 68. 1. 

42 Different Condiiions expressed 

Just as our Blessed Lord did not hesitate to adopt 

the phraseology of the Jews in designating the 

future state of the blessed, Paradise, so again He 

accepted this other imagery, and spoke of Lazarus 

as being " jcarrieb hg th^ angdd xnia Jlbrakam'0 

'ilie figure hoQOVx" ^ It bespoke a condition of social inter- 
of social in- course with the faithful ; and it had a peculiarly 

ter course. • . • .^ • ^i i • 

appropriate significance in the one passage where 
He adopted it to describe the present destiny of 
that poor outcast from society, who had been laid as 
a beggar at a rich man's gate, and had known in 
this world nothing of the plenty which the figure 
of a feast would at once suggest, and which was now 
denied to him who had so largely enjoyed it in this 
life. Though the exact figure is not repeated, the 
same idea underlay the assurance that hereafter 
many "^kall tomz txQVX the ea0t anb toe^t, anb 
0haU 0it b^ton toith Abraham, i^aar, anb Jarob, 
in the kingb^m ot kieaben." ^ 

The expression passed into the regular terminology 

of the early Church and was very largely used by the 

The fre- Fathers. Tertullian called it " a temporary receptacle 

the term in for the souls of the faithful, wherein is even now 

writings, delineated an image of the future, and where is 

given some clear foresight of the glory of both 

» S. LUKB xvL 22. a s. Matt. viii. 11. 

by the different Designations, 43 

judgments ; " ^ and again, " an interval of rest, until 
the consummation of all things shall complete the 
resurrection."^ Origen spoke of it as one of the 
states, " the many mansions," " through which the 
soul of the believer passes before it comes to the 
river which maketh glad the city of God."^ S. 
Augustine dwells with satisfaction on the thought 
of his dear departed friend Nebridius, " that he is 
now living in the bosom of Abraham."* Endless 
quotations might be given to illustrate its wide- 
spread use, but these will suffice. Its special signi- 
ficance is to describe the condition of faithful souls 
as in the enjoyment of blest companionship and 
spiritual sympathy. 

Another Jewish designation of the Intermediate Under the 
State was " under the Throne of Glory." It was said Glory, 
that when the angel of death was sent by God to 
fetch the soul of Moses and was unable to do so, 
God Himself took him and " treasured him up under 

1 Temporale aliquod animarum fidelium receptaculuni, in quo 
jam delinietnr futuri imago ac Candida qusedam utriusque judicii 
prospiciatur. — Adv, Marc. iv. xxxiv. 

2 Interim refrigerium prssbituram animabus justorum donee 
consommatio rerom resurrectionem omnium plenitudine mercedis 
expungat. — Ibid. 

^ Per qnas transiens anima Deo credens et perveniens usque 
ad flumen illud quod calificat civitatem Dei. — H(ym,. xxvi. in 
Numb, cap. xxxi. 

* Confessions, ix. 3. 

44 Different Conditions expressed 

the Throne of Glory " ; and in the same treatise it 
is added that Moses was not alone there, but that 
the souls of other righteous men were stored " under 
the Throne of Glory." ^ 

Now it is very probable that this expression is 
almost synonymous with that which is found in the 
Revelation, "under the Altar," for the Jews re- 
Under the garded the Altar always as the throne or seat of the 
Divine Majesty. Indeed so strongly did they believe 
this that it has been asserted that the Sanhedrim 
was bidden to hold its sittings near to the Altar, in 
order that the proximity to the Divine Presence 
might fill the members of the Council with awe, and 
ensure a righteous and impartial judgment. 

There is yet another thought suggested by the Altar. 
As the central point of religious worship, as the 
place to which God comes to receive the offerings of 
men, and that from which He dispenses His gifts to 
them, as the spot, in short, where He might always 
be found, the Altar was commonly held to be a 
place of refuge ; and " to flee to the Altar," or " to 
lay hold on the horns of the Altar," was to put one's- 
self within the sanctuary and protection of God. 

When then the Jews spoke of souls being " under 
the Throne of Glory," or " under the Altar," they 

^ LiGHTF. , vX supra. 

by the different Designations. 45 

intended to teach that they were in the safe-keeping 
of God Himself, or, as they were wont to say, " in 
His treasury or storehouse." They could abide 
safely and no harm could reach them, for they were 
in peace and security ^ in the hands of God. Hence 
we read, "The souls of the righteous are in the 
hand of God, and there shall no torment touch 
them." 2 Such are the varied conceptions of the 
state of the faithful after death. 

1 So TertuUian writes : "Interim sub altari martyrum animse 
placidum quiescnnt." — Scorpiace, xii 

2 Wisdom, iii. 1. 


%liz 9Di0embotiteti &ouI in a &tate of 


IT might seem to be quite unnecessary to argue 
at any length in favour of the belief that the soul 
continues in a conscious condition^ during the interval 
between death and judgment, but the history of the 
past, as well as present experience, forbids us to 
assume anything like its general acceptance. 
Early testi- Very little was said upon the subject in the 
the soul's primitive Church. Tertullian,^ in treating at length 
ness after on the nature of the soul, felt impelled to vindicate 
its consciousness after death. " What," he asks, "is 
to take place in the interval between death and 
judgment] Shall we sleep 1 Why, souls do not 
sleep, even when men are alive : it is the province 
of bodies to sleep." With one or two other notices 
of little importance the matter was not dealt with, 
as far as we know, by the early Fathers. 

1 This subject has been touched upon in After Death in chap, 
iii., but it is thought necessary to enter upon it more fully here, 
- De Anima^ Iviii De Resur. Camis, 17. 



The Disembodied Soul. 47 

In the Middle Ages, however, it was so strongly- 
maintained that the soul falls asleep in death and will 
not awake till the day of the resurrection, that it 
was brought under discussion in no less than three 
Ecclesiastical Councils.^ Opinions differed widely 
as to the nature and extent of unconsciousness. The Divers 
extreme form which the heresy took was that of the the sleep of 
Anabaptists, against whom Calvin wrote his Psycho- ® ^^^ * 
pannychia^ in which he combated the belief that the 
soul lay throughout the Intermediate State in a 
condition of utter darkness and oblivion. The 
" soul-sleepers " ^ maintained that the destruction of 
the bodily organs reduced the soul to a state of 
powerlessness ; and this was very much the idea of 
the Socinians and Arminians,* who limited them- 
selves to denying all external activity of the soul in 
its separate life. The most moderate form of it was 
that accepted by Luther,^ who not only maintained 
that there must have been numerous exceptions, 
such as, Elias, Moses, Abraham, Lazarus, those who 
had perished in the fires of Sodom, of whom S. Jude 

1 Ferrara, Florence, and Trent. 

^ This was published in 1534 a.d. The heresy was revived in the 
next century by the publication of Mace's Mortality. Cf. Pagitt, 
Heresiography. 3 Hypnopsychites. 

4 Cf. Delitsch, Bihl. Psycholog. vi. § iv. In Germany the 
chief advocate of the soul's sleep was Heyne in Werder. 

5 Cf. Lett&rs (Ed. db Wettb), pt. ii. p. 122. 

48 The Disembodied Soul in a 

spoke as " 0ttffering tlu toengeancje sA titvxsX fe^/* 
and " th^ %TpxA% in pri0xni " who listened to Christ's 
preaching in Hades, but asserted that though souk 
were asleep, they still might be " capable of hearing 
the voices of God and the angels." ^ 

Now notwithstanding the fact that the theory of 
the soul's unconsciousness has been condemned as an 
heretical tenet, whenever the Church has pronounced 
upon the subject, and despite the assertion of the 
Keformers that it is at variance with "the right 
belief declared to us in Holy Scripture," ^ it has been 
revived in these later days; and the force with 
which it has been emphasised may be gathered from 
the following extracts taken from the writings of its 
chief advocates : ^ " It is a state of darkness, forget- 
fulness, unconsciousness." "The next act in the 
history of the believer, after he has closed his eyes 
in death, is opening them in resurrection to receive 
^^ the reward of victory. All between is a blank." / 

1 Distinguishing it from a natural sleep he writes, non sic 
dormit sed vigilat et patitur visiones, loquelas Angelorum et Dei. 
Enarr. in Oen. xv. Delitsch, vi § iv. 

2 * * They which say that the souls of such as depart hence do sleep, 
being without all sense, feeling or perceiving, until the day of judg- 
ment, or affirm that the souls die with the bodies, and at the last day 
shall be raised up with the same, do utterly dissent from the right be- 
lief declared to us in Holy Scripture. " — 40th of the 42 Articles of 1653. 

3 Constable, Hades. Courtenby, Futv/re State, 262. Pol 
LOCK, Out of the Body, 106. 

State of Consciousness. 49 

It is true that the letter of Holy Scripture lends The lan- 
abundant testimony to the idea : Daniel foretells Holy 
that at the Eesurrection, " xd-m,^ xrf iktm that sAzf^f fixative 
in tk^ iu^t xrf ihje jeartk ^kall atoak^ " \ ^ and in 
the New Testament this language is repeated fre- 
quently. Beneath the storm of violence by which the 
Sanhedrists assailed him, the first martyr S. Stephen 
"fdl a^ljejep."^ Of the five hundred brethren or 
more, who had seen the Risen Lord, S. Paul told the 
Corinthians that some were " fallen j^^Jlcep." ^ Our 
Blessed Lord Himself was described by the same 
Apostle as ** the &0tfrnitj5 tsl Vatxa tkat 0lcpt." * It 
has been said,^ moreover, that it is because the souls 
of men will be bound in a deep sleep and have need 
to be awaked, that the Lord Himself will " ije^renb 
ixQxa keab^ toitk a Bhurut, toitk tke bxria td i\it 
^^rrkangel anb toitk tke immp xrf 60^." ^ 

We have adopted the Scriptural phraseology into 
our common conversation and often speak of the 
dying as " falling asleep," and we call our burying- 

grounds ** cemeteries," sleeping-places, that is, where 


1 Dan. xii. 2. * a Acts vii. 60. 

3 1 Cor. XV. 6. -* 1 cqr. xv. 20. 

J 5 This, however, is only a popular fancy, for generally the 
J trumpet-caU in Scripture is used to give an alarm or to call an 
I assembly, rarely, if ever, to arouse from sleep. Cf. Jerem. iv. 5 ; 
( Joel ii. 1, 16. 

6 1 Thess. iv. 16. 


50 The Disembodied Soul in a 

we lay our dead to rest from the turmoils of the 
world. There can be little doubt, however, that it 
is only intended as a figure of speech ; and it is a 
very natural one to use, as we look on the face of 
the dead in its calm and tranquil repose, and 
realise that "life's fitful fever" is over and past. 
Indeed we are forced to regard it as nothing more 
than figurative, for whenever the veil of the Inter- 
mediate State is lifted it invariably discloses the 
soul in a conscious condition. 
Tiie testi- Very little light is ' thrown upon the subject in 
Isaiah. the Old Testament, but there is one very remarkable 
scene depicted by Isaiah,^ which almost necessitates 1 
his belief that the disembodied soul did not lose its 
consciousness. Hades was moved at the entrance of 
the King of Babylon ; the spirits of the dead were 
stirred, and those of other kings, who had gone 
down before him, rose from their thrones to meet 
him with the question, "^rt tkxru atexr bjeconu 
to^ak a0 toje? %xX thxrti \sttQmt lik^ anixr ti0?" 
Then they reproach him with the greatness of his 
ruin, " ^0to art tkau f aUm torn keabea, ® ^tidfer, 
00n xrf ih^ mcrning 1 hoto art tkxm rut baton tcr 
the 9i*0unb, tohirk Ibib^t to^akm the nations ! " 
Of Ezekiei. Ezekiel 2 again has a bold and characteristic de- I 

1 xiv. 9, 10. 2 xxxi. 16, 17. 

State of Consciousness, 5 1 

scription in which he compares the shades of the 
princes of the earth to the choicest trees of Eden 
and Lebanon, and speaks of them as "ramfortiel) 
in tk^ nether part0," on hearing that the great 
cedar, the dreaded king of Assyria, has fallen like 

It is obvious that both these descriptions are 
clothed in a highly poetical and imaginative dress, 
but the idea that underlies them cannot possibly be 
mistaken, and it is one that militates strongly 
against any conception of the state of the soul in 
death, which regards it as sleeping or unconscious. 

In the New Testament all is made plain. The rich of the New 


man and Lazarus^ are both, on the authority of Christ 
Himself, declared to be awake and conscious in the 
other world : the one is sensible of the " tsswd^i " 
which his altered circumstances have imparted to 
him ; the other is mindful of his brethren whom he 
had left behind, and eagerly anxious to save them 
from sharing the doom that had befallen himself. 

It was no promise of unconscious slumber in a1^ 
land of oblivion which Christ held out to the robber- 1 
outliaw, as he hung upon the Cross, " ^xr-bag Bhalt 
tkxrti bje toith Jttje in JParabisB." ^ 

S. Peter ^ tells us that it was with all the powers 

1 S. Luke xvi. 19.31. 2 g. Lukb xxiii. 43. 3 1 Ep. iii. 18. 19. 

5 2 The Disembodied Soul in a 

of His human spiiit " quirkeitei)/' that Christ passed \ 
into the unseen world and delivered His message, 
not to souls that were sleeping in unconsciousness 
but awake to hear the glad tidings He brought 

It was no land of sleeping souls to which S. Paul 
passed in that awful rapture, where he heard a 
language which it baffled his comprehension to de- 
scribe, — heard, it would seem, the souls of men in 
spiritual conversation on the awful verities of the 
other world, " tin0jp^jcafeabljc toxrrb^ toktrk it x% itot 
p000tblje (marg. A.V.) fxrr a x(i&Xi ta uttjcr." ^ 

Again it was an undoubted conviction that he 
would be able to realise the Divine Presence of his 
Lord, and enjoy the freest communion of spirit with 
spirit, which cheered the same Apostle, as the 
fashion of this world seemed to be passing like a 
pageant from his sight, " habing a bjc^itje ia bjepart 
anb I0 bje toitk Christ, tohirk xp far bjcttjer." ^ 

And yet once more, the souls which S. John ^ saw 
" tinijer tkje altar " were not asleep, for they yearned 
for something yet to come, and cried in passionate 
longing, for the hastening of the time when their 
desire should be fulfilled. 

We may draw some corroborative evidence of no 
^ 2 Cor. xii. 4. a Phil. i. 23. » Rbv. vi. 9, 10. 

State of Consciousness. 53 

little import from the manner in which death is 
spoken of in the New Testament. It is nowhere 
considered to create such a violent break in exist- 
ence as the removal of the soul to a condition of 
torpor would indicate. It is no wild catastrophe 
that convulses nature and then is followed, like the 
storm, by a silence that can be felt ; but it is repre- 
sented everywhere by figures of a far different kind. 
It is the breaking up of a home,^ the striking of a The mean- 
tent, the weighing anchor and gliding out of harbour fi^^es ^ 
for another voyage ; ^ it is something in short which a^tli i?^*^^ 
seems to send the soul forth on a fresh enterprise, ^^escnbed. 
something to be looked forward to as a translation 
to a better sphere. If it had been the passage to a 
state of insensibility and suspended consciousness, 
we should have heard nothing of that strong over- 
mastering desire in S. Paul that was sufficient to 
conquer his love of this earthly life, because it 
inspired him with the hope of a freer and more . 
intensified being in the Intermediate State. 

1 2 Cor. v. L 22 Tim. iv. 6. 


a^cittal ann intellectual 2Det)elopment 
in tl^e spiritual ^tate. 

THE retention of consciousness in the Intermedi- 
ate State carries with it of necessity the full 
possession of all other faculties of the mind, for 
though in this life they are exercised through the 
medium of bodily organs, they are so far from being 
dependent upon these, that there is good reason to 
believe that they will be largely developed when 
freed from their restraining influence. 
I reten- Let US take memory and knowledge by way of 

L of 

aory. illustration; and first, memory. There is a strong 
a priori argument in favour of the exercise of this 
hereafter, because it appears to be absolutely indis- 
pensable for the preservation of our personal iden- 
tity. It is that which connects by an indissoluble 
chain the past and the present, the new life and the 

Memory was the first of the faculties appealed to 
by Abraham in his reply to the rich man in the 


Mental and Intellectual Development. 5 5 

parable, "§011, rjemjentber " ; ^ we have it then 
on the authority of our Lord that it is possible in 
the state after death to recall what has taken place 
before it. 

Again, we have only to realise what it is that 
creates forgetfulness, to understand how in the 
spiritual world the power of memory must become 
intensified. On the one hand the physical organs. How for 
by which we think and reflect while we are in the is created, 
body, are imperfect; they are liable to fail us 
through disease or some other of the countless in- 
firmities to which flesh is heir ; so that the grasp of 
the mind is weakened and lets things go. 

On the other hand memory is placed at a disad- 
vantage by the manifold distractions and absorbing 
interests, which are the inevitable accompaniments of 
the life that is passed in this present sphere. We 
may gather something of the distracting influence of 
the material world upon the thinking principle by 
noticing how vastly it becomes strengthened, as soon 
as it is withdrawn from it. When we are shut out 
from the world, as the saying is, we find the mind 
becomes absorbed and wrapt up, as it were, in 
itself; it loses consciousness of what is passing 
around, and dwells more and more upon the past 

1 S. Luke xvi. 25. 

5 6 Mental and Intellectual 

and the future. So it is, when a man is laid upon 
a bed of sickness, and loses his interest in the ordi- 
nary pleasures of life and its common diversions. 
Most of us can remember, no doubt, with what vivid 
clearness the past came back to us, when so cir- 
cumstanced, so that we seemed, as it were, to be 
living it all over again. 
Instances We have read of the prisoner, long immured 

of marvel- 
lously in a solitary cell, shut in by bar and bolt from 

memories, the outer world, losing all interest in the pre- 
sent, while the past becomes an intense reality to 
him. He goes over and over the days that are 
passed, remembers and recalls from the wastes of 
oblivion the long-forgotten scenes of childhood or 
youth, till he almost wonders at the strength of his 

We have heard, too, of the drowning man, saved r 
in the supreme moment, when all hope seemed to 
have fled, as the spirit was on the point of emanci- 
pation from the burden of the flesh ; we have heard 
of such an one telling how the scroll of his whole 
life was suddenly unfolded before him, and every- 
thing came back with an awful distinctness and with 
inconceivable rapidity. We have heard too how at 
the same time each act as it appeared before him 
has seemed to carry with it a consciousness whether 



Development in the Spiritual State. 57 

it were right or whether it were wrong ; — ^the review 
and the verdict almost simultaneous. 

It often creates perplexing thoughts, and even 
staggers our faith, when we try to realise how it will 
all be when on the great day of judgment the 
Books will be opened, and we shall be able, as 
Scripture^ leads us to expect, to give an account 
for ourselves of all that we did amiss in our earthly 
life. Here is at least a partial solution of the diffi- 
culty. Such a marvellous review of the past as the 
prisoner or the drowning man has taken, is a fore- 
taste of that wonderfully quickened and intensified 
power of memory, which will make the last Assize a 
possibility, and enable men, who in this life cannot 
remember the acts even of a single day, to recall 
the deeds done in the body, yea, every idle word 
and unholy thought of three-score years and ten, 
and that, it may be, countless centuries after their 
earthly life has closed. 

Then look at knowledge. As one of God's 
greatest gifts, it is natural to expect that it will be 
perfected with the rest of man's being. Knowledge 
is the apprehension of the truth in its manifold- The in- 
ness, and all its unsearchable treasures are laid up in knowledge, 
the Being of Him Who declared Himself to be the 
1 S. Matt. xii. 36. Rom. xiv. 12. 

58 Mental and Intellectual 

impersonatiou of truth. In the interval, then, of 
absorbing contemplation, when the soul will live in 
the light of Jesus Christ, in Whose light " toje 0kall 
sfjee light," and drink in knowledge at His lips, from 
Whom nothing is hidden, there must be an ever- 
growing development and a more and more com- 
plete apprehension, because all that could " let or 
hinder " it will have been taken away, and the cor- 
ruptible body will be no longer able, as the Book oj\ 
Wisdom says, to " weigh down the mind that museth i 
on many things." ^ 
The evi- There is a striking testimony in the Talmud ^ to 

Talmud, the expectation of an ever-mcreasmg knowledge after 
death, in commenting on the saying of the Psalmist, 
" tkeg QO frxmt ^trjcngtk to ^trjetigih." These are 
the words : " Wise men reach forward without rest 
both in this world and in the world to come." 
Indeed, the saying was considered almost proverbial 
among the Jews. Irenseus^ echoes it when he 
says, "some things we can explain by the favour 
of God, but some will be reserved for God Himself, 
not only in the present world but also in that which 

1 ix. 15. 3 b. Berakhothf 64, a. MoSd Katan. 29, a. 

3 yia fjukv iviX^ofiev Kard, x^pt^ Ocov, tvia. bk dvaKeifferou tQ 
6e;^ Kal oi fi6vov iv T(fi aXwvi t(^ pwI dXXd Kal iv tQ ftAXwrt, tva 
del fUv 6 Beds diddaK-o, AvOptairos di did Tavrbs fxauOdvy vapd 
OeoO. — Adv. ffcer. ii. xxviii. 3. 

Development in the Spiritual State. 59 

is to come, that God may be always teaching us, and 
that man may be for ever learning at Gpd's mouth." 

S. Paul has given us a glimpse of what will be S. Panrs 


possible hereafter out of his own experience. It 
was when admitted into the world of spiritual exist- 
ences that he says that he "kearb tin0|jjcakable 
to0rjb0 tokirk it te net p^^^ible (marg. A.V.) lot a 
xc^x^, t0 uttjcr."^ What reached his ear transcended 
all earthly knowledge and finite comprehension. 

Again, in another passage he prepares us for a 
vast amplification of mental powers by drawing a 
contrast between the two states: "noto toe s^zt 
tkrmigk a gto^ jbarklg, bat tken faa i^ faa." 
The dimness of our present vision is emphasised in 
the original language^ by the use of a double figure, 
which is obscured, if not lost, in the translation. 
Under the one figure he shows that here we can see 
things as though they were reflected in those dim 
metallic mirrors which the ancients used, where the 
likeness was always blurred and distorted. Under 
the other he intimates that we cannot now discern 
things at once, because they are put before lis like 
an unsolved senigma, needing time and labour to 
unravel and interpret. But hereafter these draw- 

1 2 Cor. xii. 4. 

2 1 Cor. xiii 12. — jSX^iro/xev yb.p Aftri 5t' iffimrpov iy cdvLyfiaTi. 

6o Mental and Intellectual 

backs and impediments will be removed ; there will 
no longer be anything either to obscure or mystify, 
but the unveiled brightness of the eternal truth will 
meet us " f acje ta f aa." 

Then he adds still further in illustration of the 
difference, " ttato I fenrrto in pari ; bttt then 0haU 
I kn0to jetojen a0 tXm I am knaton " ; ^ now, the 
clouds of ignorance break only here and there, 
and none but a few favoured ones are permitted to 
see the sunlit spots of the unattainable truth, but 
then every cloud will be swept away, and we shall 
gaze into the very depths of Wisdom, and look her 
through and through, even as the all-seeing eye of 
God has searched in life into eveiy corner of our 
innermost being. 

We are not justified in asserting, with the same 

confidence, that this development will extend to an 

Uncer- increased acquaintance with the mysteries of science 

touching and other branches of knowledge and philosophy 


anceof which engage the highest intellects m this life, 


knowledge or that men of the greatest genius may find further 
scope for the exercise of their peculiar gifts, and be 
able to illustrate much that was dark before, and 
disentangle perplexities which baffled their earthly 

1 rbrr^ 5k iiriyvdixrojxaL KadCjs Kal iireyvdxrOi/jv, then shall I know 
fully as also I have been known fully, i.e. with the perfect know- 
ledge of God. 


Development in t/te Spirittial State. 6 1 

endeavours. There is certainly some degree of 
probability that it will be so ; for if we allow that 
the pursuit of such knowledge is inspired by God, it 
is most difficult to believe that it can only serve a 
brief and transient purpose, or to doubt that what 
He has given us to occupy so much of our time and 
thought in this sphere of probation and preparatory 
training, must have an eternal interest. 

Of course, it may be said that S. Paul, in speaking 
of this consummation of knowledge, travelled beyond 
the Intermediate State, and was contemplating his 
condition in the risen and glorified life. But even 
if this be so, there is nothing to lead to the conclu- 
sion that he expected such a wonderful increase of 
his intellectual faculties to be caused by a sudden 
instantaneous revelation. He understood well the 
general principles upon which God chooses to ac- 
complish His work, and must have realised that it 
would be more in accordance with these that it 
should be the result of gradual and progressive 
development through the period of waiting and un- 
disturbed contemplation in the disembodied state. 


%^t purification of t^e feouU 

TT seems almost impossible to form any other con- 
-*" elusion than that the souls of the departed pass 
through some purifying process between death and 
judgment. By far the majority of those who die 
The need of are imperfect ; they are not deserving of hell, but, 


after death, at the same time, are quite unfit for heaven. Our 
Lord Himself asserted that the Beatific Vision is 
reserved for those alone who are pure in heart.^ 

Again, it was declared as one of the characteristics 
of the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, which S. 
John saw in vision, that there should " in no toi^je 
ent-er into it angtking that itSltth" or anything 
that is unclean.^ In heaven the saints will enjoy 

The Divioe the direct unhindered sight of God the Father in 

Presence in 

Paradise the fulness of His glory ; this, the highest blessed- 

fromthe i^^ss, is reserved for the risen and glorified state, 

vSoD.^ when they will enter into the joy of their Lord, 

when they will see God ''Z0'^)z i0," ^ as the angels 


1 S. Matt. V. 8. 

2 oif fM-r] elffO^OlO ^^^ airrrjv irav KOivbvj Rev. xxi. 27. 

3 lis. John ill. 2. 


The Purification of the Soul. 63 

behold His face.-* It is necessary thus to distinguish 
clearly what is meant by the Beatific Vision, which 
is reserved for the final state, whereas it is again 
and again implied that the souls of the righteous 
realise the Divine Presence in Paradise. The Vision 
of God, which has been vouchsafed to men, and to 
which S. Paul looked when he spoke of departing 
and being " toith the S^^>" was that of the Second 
Person of the Blessed Trinity; the First Person 
dwells, and will dwell, " in the light tokirk nta xcim, 
ran apyr^ark miiz .Wkiaxci n0 mankatk s^tvxvust 
can 0jeje," ^ until the full manifestation of His glory 
at the last great day. 

It follows from this that every one who dies with 
the blemishes and stains of a sinful nature unefFaced, 
even though he may have received pardon and for- 
giveness, will obviously require spiritual cleansing 
and purification. It has been authoritatively pro- 
nounced to be the indispensable qualification for 
admission to the Vision of God. 

1 S. Matt, xviii. 10. 

2 1 Tim. vi. 16. The Roman Church resisted the teaching of the 
Greek Bishops, who maintained, at the Council of Florence, a.d. 
1439, that the Beatific Vision has not yet been vouchsafed to any 
of the saints. This belief has been stereotyped by the decree on 
the Invocation of Saints at the Council of Trent, Sess. xxv., but 
Patristic testimony, with the rarest exceptions, is adverse to the 
Roman view : cf. AJter Deathy pp. 219-227. 

64 The Purification of the Soul. 

How, then, and where, is the defiling touch of sin to 
be removed, and its disfigurement wholly wiped out % 

The common belief is, that at death the soul 
which dies in a state of grace is freed at once and 
for ever from all the impurity and sinfulness which 
clung to it in the flesh, and that it is so completely 
cleansed, that it may forthwith, if need be, enter 
upon the Vision of Him Who is "xxf jp^JiTjer t^zsi 
The sup. than ta bjchuxlb inixjmtsi." ^^^ such a theoryi 

position , , , . . / 

that the invests a mere physical process with that sanctifying] 
purified in influence which can only be exercised through the 
operation of the will. / 

It cannot be objected that it is pardoning grace, 
not the act of dying, which effects sanctification, 
because the experience of life contradicts it. How 
few penitents there are whose conscience tells them 
that, simultaneously with a sense of remitted guilt, 
they have obtained deliverance also from the power 
of sin ! It is the common heritage of most men to 
have still to bear, though it may be in ever-decreas- 
ing force, the burden of sinful tendencies; to be 
found all their after-life struggling against the 
old temptations. We dare not, it is true, limit 
Purification the power of omnipotence to " fulfil a long time 
process. ^^ ^ short time," ^ and to efface at once the results 

1 W18D. iv. 13. 

The Purification of the Soul. 65 

of a whole life ; but general observation shows that 
stains which have been gradually contracted are for 
the most part gradually removed ; and reason sug- 
gests that man's cleansing after death will bear at 
least some relationship to his cleansing in this life.^ 
Now, there is abundant evidence to be drawn 
alike from Scripture and Patristic writings touching 
some ordeal of purification through which all men 
are destined to pass, before they can be admitted to 
the Presence of God. In the Gospels it is said that 
"jetojerg jotue )5haU bje 0altjei) toilk ffrje";^ it is 
indorsed in the Epistles, " tkje ffrje 0haU trg jebtrg 
matt'j5 to-oxfe xrf to hat 0xrtt it i^."^ Neither was 
this the first intimation of such a purification, for a fiery 
the prophets had predicted it. Isaiah * spoke of a told in 
" spirit xrf btmitng " for the purgation of Jerusalem, ScriP*^'^^- 
and the washing away of the filth of the daughter 
of Zion, in preparation for the coming of the Lord. 
Malachi ^ had presented the same thought under the 
figure of a refiner presiding over his furnace and 
watching the process, as the heat of the fiame 
separated the alloy, and restored to man the re- 
flexion of the image in which he was created. 

1 It might be urged that the idea of sudden or instantaneous 
cleansing, when carried to its logical result, destroys free-will : for 
to be cleansed is to have the will conformed to the will of God. 

2 S. Mark ix. 49. » 1 Cob. iii. 13. * iv. 4. s iii. 8. 


66 The Purification of the SouL 

In most of these passages it will be seen that 
there is a generally accepted reference to the day of 
judgment, and in consequence, we find that the 
Spoken of early Fathers taught almost by common consent, 
Fathers, that the revelation of that day would be in fire, and 
that none would be exempted from the severity of 
its test. 

Clement of Alexandria,^ speaking of the purifica- 
tion of sinful souls, says that it will not be by " all- 
devouring and common fire," but by that " discrimi- 
nating fire which will penetrate the soul as it passes 
through it." 

Both Origen and S. Ambrose held that, as all the 
Israelites passed through the Ked Sea, so all men 
would pass through the fire of judgment ; and that 
as the Egyptians were drowned, while Moses and 
the Israelites escaped, so at the last day "the 
ungodly would be plunged into the lake of burning 
fire, but good men . . . should be able to quench 
the fierce flames." ^ 

1 <f>6.fjLep 54 i]fi€LS ay id^civ t6 irvp od rd Kpia dXXa rA$ a/iafxruXoifS 
yf/vx^-^' 'tO/) oi t6 irafKpdyov koI ^dvavcop dXXd r6 <f>p6nfiov 
X^ovrcs, r6 duKvo^/ji,€Pov 5td ^vxv^ Tijs diepxofi^v^ rb Tvp. — 
Strom, vii., Bened. ed. 719. 

2 Nempe in Rubrum demersus populus est -^gyptionim, transivit 
autem populus Hebrseorum ; Moyses pertransivit, praecipitatus 
est Pharao : eo modo praecipitabuntur sacrilegi in lacum ignis 
ardentis . . . sequamur ergo . . . ut in futurum nobis nebula 

The Purification of the Soul. 67 

In another place we read there would be no 
exemption, but all would have to submit to the 
fiery trial "whether he be John the Evangelist, 
whom the Lord so loved as to say to Peter con- 
cerning him 'If I toiU thai he iarrg — tohat 
t0 that \a thee ? Jf-allato ihoti Jtte/ " Some, he 
implies, have doubted of his death ; there can be no 
doubt of his passage through the fire. He asserted 
the same again of S. John's fellow-Apostle, "or 
whether he be Peter, he who received the keys of 
the kingdom of heaven, who walked upon the sea, 
must still say, ' WLt paj50eb ihr-augh fire anb toaier, 
anb ^kxm brmiakie^i ti0 troX into a toealthg 
plate/ "1 

Lactantius ^ expected that even the just would be 
tried by fire, but though it would scorch the sinful, 
the pure would come off with impunity. 

S. Hilary^ said that the Baptism of the Holy 
Ghost must be " consummated by the fire of judg- 
ment"; and he looked with awe and dread upon 

refrigeret noctis, quo sseva incendia relevare possimus.— Origen 
in Psalm xxvi., Horn, iii., and S. Amb., in Ps. xxxvi. 26. 

1 Omnes oportet per ignem probari, . . . omnes oportet transire 
per flammas, sive ille Johannes . . . de morte ejus aliqui 
dubitaverunt, de transitu per ignem dubitare non possimus. — In 
PscUm cxviii. 12. 

2 Div. Inst. vii. 21. 

3 Quia baptizatis in Spiritu Sancto reliquum sit consummari 
iguejudicii.-— Com. in Matt. Can. ii. 

68 The Purification of the Soul. 

that day when, in giving account for every idle 
word, men ''must undergo the unspent fire and 
those grievous penalties for freeing the soul from 
its sins." 

S. Gregory Nazianzen,^ after dwelling upon divers 
kinds of baptism, predicts that the last baptism, that 
of fire, " will be more severe, and of longer duration, 
which will consume the material part like hay, and 
destroy the light substance of every kind of sin." 

Lastly, S. Augustine,^ though his opinions on the 
subject of Purgatory were never fully formed and 
decided, nevertheless interpreted the expression 
being " saved so as by fire " of that which would be 
kindled on the day of judgment. 

These passages, as well as others ^ which might be 
quoted if necessary, point to a very general belief, in 
the earliest ages of Christianity, in the existence of 
a cleansing ordeal for all men. • They enforce the 
great principle laid down in Scripture, that no soul 
can be fitted for the Presence of God till its defile- 

1 rf T€\€VTaii^ pairrta-fiaTi t^J iiriwopuyriptfi Kal ficucpor^pip, 6 
iff die I rbv X^P^ov, r^v 6Xi;y, Kal dairdvq. irdarjs Kadai KOwf>&rrp-a, 
— Or at. xxxix. ad fin. 

2 De utroque igne . . . non solum de illo setemo qui in aetemum 
cruciaturus est impios, sed etiam de illo emendabit eos qui per 
ignem salvi enint.— /» Psalm xxxvii. 3. 

8 S. HiERON. ad Jov, ii. n. 22. S. Greoobt Ntss., OrcU, de 
Mortuis, iii. p. 634. Paris ed. 1638. 

The Purification of the Soul, 69 

ments have been ejOfaced by a process of purifica- 

The conscience of man bears witness to the same 
necessity. If we were to ask the most saintly char- 
acter we know, what he feels touching his need of 
cleansing, he would reply at once that even after a 

life-long struggle to shake off his impurities, and with The wit- 
ness of the 

all his unwavering confidence in the pardoning mercy conscience 

to the need 

of God, and the sanctifying influence of the Holy of purifica- 
Ghost, he is still sure that, when death approaches, 
he will be filled with a sense of utter unfitness for 
God's Presence. Till our spiritual eyesight has been 
purged from all the corrupting films of earthly desire, 
and trained in a clearer atmosphere, we can never 
stand the light which "mr xcf:SiXi ran apprxrark 
unixr " : we can never bear the Presence of Him 
Who is " xrf pturer VQtsi than ixr b^k0lb iniri:niiB." 

The primitive Fathers kept their eyes fixed on the 
day of judgment as the time when this purification 
would be effected, but it is in perfect harmony with 
Catholic truth to teach that it is a prolonged pro- The fire of 
cess, continuing, it may be, throughout the Inter- i^t^^ces- 
mediate State till its final consummation at the end ^^^ ° 
of the world. If we could remove the many sub- ^^^**^°°- 
ordinate evils, which have made the Eoman doctrine 
of Purgatory a byeword, and leave only the dominant 

70 The Purification of the Soul. 

idea, which underlies it, of a progressive cleansing 
cominencing immediately after death and lasting on 
till the work is complete, a great end would be 

There is everything to lead us to expect such a 
thorough sifting for the soul in its disembodied 
state. In this present world of sense man is neces- 
sarily in a kingdom of externals, which make it easy 
for him to escape from self-knowledge, by reason of 
the distracting influences, the noise and tumult of 
the world around him ; but at death he enters upon 
a condition of a totally different kind. The veil 
which is now spread over the stern realities of life 
will be violently torn aside, and he will find himself 
in a kingdom of pure realities. "The soul will 
enter into its own inmost recesses, and resort to that 
which is the very foundation of life, the true sub- 
stratum and source of all existence ; hence arises the 
purgatorial nature " ^ of the Intermediate State. 
jHow far it One of the chief points in the Eoman theory which 
physical calls for correction touches the physical pains which 
are supposed to be endured in the course of purifica- 
tion. " The sloughing off of the imperfection in- 
grown as it were with the soul ; the straining of 

1 Der Mittelzuatand im Todtenreich. Mabtensen's Christ 

The Purification of the Soul, 71 

the soul to become free from all earthliness in her ; 
the longing for the Vision of God, from which the 
unbejfittingness, yet cleaving to her, still excludes 
her ; her struggle towards the full death of the evil 
in her, and towards the full life of the good in her ; 
this upstirring of her deepest and inmost self implies 
fire, fiery pain enough";^ but Kome teaches that 
the agonies of Purgatory are intolerable, and are so 
terrible and agonising that they differ only from the 
pains of the damned in the fact that there is an 
appointed limit to the one, not to the other.^ 

When the soul is " toitk fflkri^t," with Him, that 
is, "Who is altogether lovely" ; and when, with those 
quickened powers which the spirit acquires by 
emancipation from the flesh, it reviews its earthly 
life, in the awful contrast which it will reveal be- 
tween Christ's absolute purity and sinlessness, His 
perfect holiness and entire self-surrender and sacri- 
fice, and its own uncleanness and rebellion and selfish 
indulgence, it cannot do otherwise than suffer in the The suffer- 

iu&r of & 

retrospect, but the suffering must be of a spiritual spiritual 


1 Klee, Ijogmaiik, ii. 429-430. 

2 "In nothing different from these very infernal pains which 
the souls of castaways, together with damned spirits, do endure, 
saving only in this, there is an appointed limit to the one, to 
the other none ; but for the time they last they are equal." — 
Hooker, Serm. on Pride, iii. ad fin. Puset, The Truth and 
Office of the English Churchy p. 190. 

72 The Purification of the SouL 

kind, such, for instance, as the penitent experiences 
in the consciousness of past sin, though he may have 
no doubt that it has been pardoned. It is, then, 
the spiritual character of our future purification 
which needs to be emphasised ; and the enforcement 
of this will tend to remove that prejudice which 
Eoman perversions have so largely created, and give 
us back an important element of Catholic truth con- 
cerning the state of the soul after death. It was a 
Lutheran divine of the greatest eminence who defied 
the narrow-mindedness of his sect and boldly taught 
that " in a purely spiritual sense there must be a 
Purgatory determined for the cleansing of the soul 
in the Intermediate State." ^ 

Then, as coincident with this purification and 
removal of the alloy of sin, there is a gradual de- 
velopment of the character of perfect holiness till 
of holiness. ^^ qualification for the Beatific Vision is attained, 
and simultaneously with this those habits will be 
formed, and that appreciation of all that is lovely 
and noble and true be infused into the soul, which 
will make heaven hereafter a scene of unmingled 
happiness. It is distinctly revealed concerning the 
souls "tinbtc ihz altar" that "tohiie rxrh-e0 totc^ 

^ •' Die Wahrheit dass der Mittelzustand in rein geistigen Sinne 
ein Purgatorium sein muss, bestimmt zur Lauterung der Seele." 
Mabtbnsen, ibid. 


a perfect 

The Purification of the Soul, 73 

gibett utti-a ^b^rg 0tte rf tk-em"^ while they were 
waiting, and this cannot but symbolise the imparting 
of greater holiness than they possessed before. 

It is a recognised law that we grow like those we 
love; the more therefore we learn to love Christ, 
the closer the resemblance will become between us, ( 
and it is inevitable that we shall love Him when 
we shall see Him in His real character, not as it too 
often appears in this life, marred and distorted 
by sinful misrepresentations and perverted fancies. 

^The analogy of all God's works, exhibiting in every 
part of creation the principle of gradual growth and 

I development, points to such a result. One of the fphe test 
earliest of the Fathers expressed his belief that it JJenffius 
is the ordinance of God that those who are saved 
should in the future state advance step by step to 
their perfect beatitude.^ And herein he did but 
echo the teaching of the Holy Ghost, Who inspired 
S. Paul to cheer both his Corinthian and Philippian Of S. Pa 
converts^ with the assurance that He Who had begun 
a good work in their hearts would carry it on stage 
by stage till it arrived at perfect maturity, and they 

1 Rev. vi. 11. 

2 Hanc esse ordinationem et dispositionem eorum qui salvantur, 
dicunt presbyteri Apostolorum discipuli et per hujusmodi gradus 
proficere et per spiritum quidem ad Filium, per f ilium autem 
ascendere ad Patrem. — Iren. adv, ffcer, v. xxxvi. 2. 

» 1 Cor. i. 7, 8 ; Phil. i. 6. 

74 The Purification of the SouL 

should be found blameless and without reproach, 
not in the hour of death, but at the appearance of 
the Lord Jesus at the end of the world. 

It is thus that the souls of the righteous will go 
"fejom 0trengtk ia ^irjengtk," till on the day of the 
Eesurrection " jeb^ mte rf tk^m in Bion app^ardk 
before ®-ab," wholly transformed into the image of 
Him, under Whose Throne they will abide for ever- 


%^t 9Doctttne of )^utptorp in !$e Hatin 



LAEGE branch of the Western Church holds 
that the disembodied soul passes at death <]:>he Roman 
into Purgatory, not only for its purification and Jo^»g°p^ri. 
cleansing from sinful stains, but also for the expia- ^^^^^^ 
tion of venial sins. The nature of the purifying 
process is less clearly defined than we should have 
expected.^ All that Eome has laid down by formal 
Conciliar decrees is that " there is a Purgatory, and 
the souls detained there are helped by prayer, and 
chiefly by the acceptable sacrifice of the Altar " ; ^ 
but the practical teaching of the Church upon the 
subject is much more explicit. For instance, the 
Council of Trent, which framed the above decrees, 

^ Duo tantum ab Ecclesia de Purgatorio definita sunt, ejusdem 
scilicet ezisteutia, et suffragiorum utilitas erga defunctorum 
animas. Omnia deinde quad ad locum, tempus, poenarum naturam 
et acerbitatem spectant, dogma non attingunt. — Perrone, Prce- 
lect. TheoL de Deo, Pars iii. vi. 2. 

2 Sess. vi. Can. 30. Cum Catbolica Ecclesia . . . docuerit Pur- 
gatoiium esse ; animasque ibi detentas, fidelium sufragiis, potis- 
simum vero acceptabili altaris sacrificio juvarL — Cotwj. Trident. 
Sess. XXV. Decretum de Purgatorio. 


76 The Doctrine of Purgatory in 

also drew up a Catechism for the instruction of 
the young, in which the popular belief finds full 
expression : " there is a Purgatorial fire where the 
souls of the righteous being tormented for a definite 
time are purified, that an entrance may be given 
them into their eternal home, where nothing that 
is defiled entereth in."^ Bellarmine again, in his 
treatise on this subject, which is generally accepted 
as authoritative by members of the Eoman Church, 
asserts that " the pains of Purgatory are very severe, 
surpassing any endured in this life."^ The two 
beliefs involved in the above quotations, viz., that the 
ordeal is a fiery one, and the punishment expiatory, 
are supposed to rest upon the declarations of Scrip- 
ture, which declares that " the ffr^ 0kaU irg tb^rg 
xa^xi^ toork xrf tokat ^ort it ij5 " ; ^ and that " tkou 
0kalt bg Via m^an^ rome xrut ikttta till tkmi ka^t 
paib tk^ ttiterm00t f artkinjg " ; * but both passages 
admit of other interpretations. 

1 Praeterea est purgatorius ignis, quo piorum animse ad definitum 
tempus cruciataB expiantur, ut eis in setemam patriam ingressus 
patere possit, in quam nihil coinquinatum ingreditur. — CaJt. Tri- 
dent, pars i. Artie, v. § v. 

^ Poenas esse atrocissimas, et cum illis nullas poenas bujus vitse 
comparandas. De Purgatorio, ii. 14. In her Conciliar Decrees 
Rome has only asserted that souls are detentce in Purgatory : in the 
Tridentine Catechism, however, she teaches that they are (^ruciatce, 
and this accords with what is popularly taught and believed. 

8 1 Cor. iii. 13. * S. Matt. v. 26. 

the Latin Church. 77 

Two fmidaiuQiital errors seem to lie at tKe root of Two impor- 
the Purgatorial system as held by Rome ; first, it inherent in 
abridges the Intermediate State, which Scripture y^^^ ""^ 
extends from death to the judgment, for the vast 
majority of souls ; and secondly, it abolishes it alto- 
gether for those who have died in exceptional holi- 
ness. It asserts that the souls of the faithiiil, as 
soon as they- have pdd their allotted penalty in 
Pu^atory, and the souls of the saints and martyrs 
immediately upon death, pass into the Presence of 
God without awaiting in either case the day of 

Now, before setting forth what we believe to be 
the true Catholic and primitive doctrine of purifica- 
tion after death, it behoves us to investigate the | 
claims to antiquity which Borne makes for her 
peculiar tenets. 

There is abundant Patristic evidence in support The Patrie- 
of a Purgatorial fire, but it seems to have been for purgatorial 
the most part misunderstood, at least it may be "' 
shown with greater truth to apply not to an inter- 
medial purgation, but to a final one at the day of 

> This WAS bronght nut very fully in the discnsBions at the 
Conncil of Florence, a.d, 1434, especially in the speech of Card. 
JaliBn CesarinL 


78 The Doctrine of Purgatory in 

The first real authority for the Eoman view is 
Gregory the Great,^ at the close of the sixth cen- 
tury. It is true that S. Augustine is commonly 
credited with similar opinions, but the evidence is 
drawn for the most part from spurious and sus- 
pected treatises. We shall find from the following 
and other ^ passages, taken out of his undisputed 
works, that his mind was never clearly made up. 
On the one hand he indorses the teaching of his 
predecessors by what he says of " the fire of judg- 
ment " which was destined to try every man's work : 
The Purga- " SO at the setting of the sun, that is at the end, the 
the day of day of judgment is signified by that fire, dividing 
ju gmen . ^^ carnal, which are to be saved by fire, and those 
who are to be damned in the fire." ^ Again, he speaks 
of some who " suffer temporary punishments in this 
life only, and others who suffer them after death," but 
shows that in the latter case he is referring to " the 
last and severest judgment " at the final conflagration ; 
and he cuts himself off completely from all sym- 
pathy with the Eoman view when he says that some, 
who have suffered temporary punishments after 
death, should come into everlasting punishment after 

1 Dialog, iv. 34. ^ De Civ, Deij xxL 26. 

3 Significat jam in fine sseculi per ignem judicandos esse camales. 
. . . Significatur isto igne dies judicii dirimens camales per ignem 
salvandos. -De Civ. Dei, xvi. 24. 

the Latin Church, 79 

judgment.^ "He destroys," it has been quaintly- 
said,^ " the salt of the Koman fire, who imagines 
that all that go to Purgatory shall be saved." 

But if these quotations seem to indicate the 
existence of views antagonistic to the Eoman con- 
ception of Purgatory, there are others which appear 
to discount their value. 

Once certainly he speaks with a degree of con- The uncer- 
fidence which seems to justify the Roman appeal to A^iwthie's 
his authority.^ It is in reference to certain men °P"^^o°^- 
who had lived " an indifferent pious life," of whom 
he said, " it was certain that being purged before 
thfe judgment day by temporal pains which their 
spirits suffered, when they had received their bodies 
they should not be delivered to the punishment of 
eternal fire."* 

On the whole, however, it is safer to refuse to 
accept his evidence either in favour of the Eoman 
view or against it, for little weight can be attached 
to the opinions of one who could use such expres- 
sions as the following in dealing with the sub- 

^ Non autem omnes veniimt in sempitemaa poenas^ qus6 post 
ill ud judicium sunt futurae, qui post mortem sustinent temporales. 
— Id. xxi. 13. 

2 Jkb. Taylor, Of Purgatory y ii. 2, § 1. Vol. vi. 559. 

3 e.g. by Bellarmine, Diaphante, Perron, and others. 

■* Jeremy Taylor discusses the question of S. Augustine's vacil- 
lation on this subject very fully on Purgatcyry^ lib. ii. § ii. 

8o The Doctrine of Purgatory in 

ject : "it is not incredible"; "perhaps it is true;" 
"whether it be so or no, is a fair subject of in- 
quiry ; possibly it may be found true, and possibly 
it may never be." ^ 
The origin It was not really till a century and a half after 

And dG~ 

veiopment S. Augustine that the doctrine of Purgatory as 
Roman taught by Rome, really took anything like formal 
urga ory. ^^^^ definite shape, and gained possession of the 
mind of the Church. It was Gregory the Great 
who first laid it down as a dogmatic truth, that 
" for certain lighter faults there is a purgatorial fire 
before the judgment." 2 

There was little attempt to systematise tBe 
doctrine till the middle ages, when the Schoolmen 
speculated largely on the condition of souls in the 
Intermediate State. They divided them roughly 
into five classes, and placed them in appropriate 
localities. In the highest place, which they 
designated Paradise, were the souls of Martyrs 
and Saints, who died in no need of purification. 
Together with these were the Patriarchs and holy 

1 Tale aliquid etiam posthanc vitam fieri incredibile non est, et 
ntram ita sit, quseri potest et aut inveniri aut latere, nommllos 
fi deles per ignem quendam purgatorium . . . salvari. — Enchirid 
ad Laurent. Ixiz. 

2 Dial, cl fierii ddvarov KaOapTiKbp irvp virapx^i, lib. iv. 39 ; also 
in Psal. iii. Poenitm. in princip. 

the Latin Church. 8i 

men of the Old Dispensation, who had been made 
eligible for the benefits of the incarnation and 
atonement by Christ's descent into Hades. Those 
that were destined to eternal perdition passed the The teach- 
intervening time before the final judgment in JShooimen. 
Infernum, which was in every respect a foretaste of 
hell. The remaining classes, during the waiting 
period, were assigned to limhus patrv/ni, limbus in- 
fantium, and Purgatory. Lirribus^ was, as Dante 
described it, " the outer zone of hell." The first 
was the abode of those who had lived and died 
under the Old Dispensation before Christ came, but 
received no accession of happiness through the 
" descent into hell." The second was the abode of 
infants who died unbaptized. The third was the 
state of the faithful whose failings and imperfections 
required to be corrected and purified by pain, to fit 
them for admission into the kingdom of heaven. ^ 

Thomas Aquinas taught that the pains of Purga- 
tory are far in excess of any that are suffered in 
this life, and that they are not only endued with a 
cleansing power for the removal of sinful stains, but 
also avail to make satisfaction for guilt. Notwith- 

1 In Italian it signifies a border. Limbo is used for any place 
of restraint. 

3 Dante allows the mrtuous heathen a place in limbus; e.g. he 
places Socrates there. 



82 The Doctrine of Purgatory in 

standing, however, the influence of the schoolmen, 
the doctrine of Purgatory was not authoritatively 
formulated till the Council of Florence, A.D. 1439, 
when the following definition was drawn up and 
signed : '' If men have died truly penitent and in 
the love of God, but before they have made satis- 
Thedeci- faction for sins of omission and commission by 
Council of worthy fruits of repentance, their souls are purified 
after death by the pains of Purgatory, and to the 
relief of those pains avail the prayers of the faith- 
ful, the sacrifices of masses, supplications, alms, and 
other offices of piety; the souls of those who die 
after baptism and without actual sin, and those 
which after contracting the stain of sin have been 
cleansed either in their bodies or after they have 
left them, are then received into heaven and have 
the vision of the Precious God, one more perfectly 
than another according to the diversity of their 
merits ; while the souls of others who die in mortal 
sin or even in original sin only (i.e. the unbaptized) 
descend into hell, to be punished with unequal 
punishment." ^ 

It was hoped that this decision would be accepted 
by the universal Church, but though it was signed 

1 Richard. AtwI. ConcU. iv. p. 671, quoted by Dean Plumptre 
in The Spirits in Prison, p. 300. 

the Latin Church, 83 

by the Eastern Bishops, eighteen ^ in number, who 
were present, their action was repudiated on their 
return to Constantinople by those whom they had 
been commissioned to represent. This reversal of 
their judgment has been generally ^ supposed to 
have referred to the entire doctrine there defined ; 
and the Greek and Latin Churches are often said Wherein 

the Grreek 

to be wholly at variance touching the Intermediate and Latin 


State ; but such is by no means the case. The agree. 
Orthodox Eastern Churches teach that though for 
the most part the souls of the faithful are at rest 
and in peace, yet that some among those who are 
"hardly saved" undergo punishment before they 
are fully pardoned and purified from sin ; and they 
agree with the Westerns in the belief that such 
souls are helped by the prayers of the living and 
the oblations of the Altar.^ 

On one point, however, these two branches of the 
Church are and have always been at direct issue, viz., 
the theory of Indulgences. The Greek Church main- 

1 Sixty-two Latin Bishops signed it. 

2 Cf. Habold Browne, Artt. pp. 501, 502. 

8 Cf. George Williams, The Orthodox and Nonjurors, 47, 48. 
Macarius, Theologie Dogm. ii. 726. The Greeks shrink from 
using the word Pv/rgatory, but the Confession of Dositheus and 
the Orthodox Catechism both teach what the Latins do concerning 
it. Cf. Kimmel's Monttmenta Fidei Eccl. Orient ii. 463. Schaff's 
Creeds of Christendom, ii. 342-8, 432, 433. 

84 The Doctrine of Purgatory in 

Whei-ein tains that they may be granted for the abridgment 
variance, of penalties in this life, but under no circumstances 
admits their efficacy after death. The Roman Church 
extends their operation to the Intermediate State, 
and says that they may be granted for the soul which 
is undergoing purification, and that God is bound 
to accept the payment and release the soul.^ 

The power of relaxing Canonical penalties belongs 

by right to the Church in the exercise of spiritual 

discipline : ^ but Rome claimed an extension of the 

power, which is wholly unauthorised. It was first ^ 

so used, at least on any considerable scale, during 

the Crusades, when the Church held out promises 

Indul- of indulgence to those who were ready to take up 

franted for ^^® cross and march against the Saracens; and 

the dead, ^^^ggg ^g^g declared efficacious as well for the dead 

as the living. Two bulls issued in A.D. 1118 and 

1122 ran as follows: "Since ye have determined 

to expose both yourselves and what belongs to you I 

to the greatest perils, if any one of you, having* 

accepted penance for your sins, die in the expedi- 

1 Amort, SUt. of IndvZgences, Pt. ii. s. v., § 2. 

a Cf. Nic. Concil. Can. xii. Ancyra, Can. v. Chalcedon, Can. 

8 Indulgences are commonly said to have been first granted for 
the dead "by Pope John vni. in a.d. 878, but it has been doubted 
whether they were indulgences in the strict sense of the word. 

the Latin Church. 85 

tion, by the merits of the saints and the prayers of 
the whole Catholic Church we absolve him from the 
chain of his sins ";^ and again, "To those who go 
to Jerusalem for the defence of the Christians, and 
to aid in crushing the tyranny of the infidels, we 
grant the remission of all their sins." ^ 

It opened the way for mercenary traffic in con- 
nexion with man's highest spiritual interests ; and 
it is well known how rapidly the abuses developed 
till they reached such a height in the hands of 
Tetzel, that the indignation of Luther was roused, Luther's 
and in the face of his denunciations Eome admitted 
her error and prohibited the sale of indulgences for 
money. The Council of Trent, while upholding the 
right of the Church to dispense through her minis- 
try out of the superabundant merits of Christ and 
the saints for the mitigation of Purgatorial pains, 
and even anathematising all who should deny the 
said right, forbade that the treasures of the Church \ 
should be made use of for purposes of gain.^ I 

Such in its main issues is that which is condemned What kind 

of Purga- 

in the twenty-second Article as " the Komish doctrine tory is con- 
demned by 

1 BaroniuB, a. 1118, xviii. xxii. 

2 Issued by Calixtns n. in Concil. Lat. a.d. 1122, Can. xi. 

8 Pravos quaestus omnes pro his consequendis, unde plurima in 
Christiano populo abnsuum causa fluxit, omnino abolendos esse. 
Sess. XXV. 

86 Doctrine of Purgatory in Latin Church. 

concerning Purgatory, pardons," etc. The limitation 
is very significant ; for, a^ we have shown in the 
previous chapter, there is a purgatorial doctrine, 
which has come down from Catholic and primitive 
antiquity, and may therefore be held with perfect 
loyalty to fundamental truth. 


%^t &oul in ^tditt anti &ecur(tp. 

THE belief that the souls of the faithful enter at 
death on a condition of peace and blissful 
security laid complete hold of the early Church, In 
the Book of Wisdom it had been declared that 
they '^ are in the hand of God and there shall no 
torment touch them." ^ The inspired author of the 
Apocalypse had heard a voice from heaven de- 
claring them " bU00tb " " tokirb in in iht Ipxrci, 'nie peace 
that tktg mas xt^t ixom their Inbovixs"^ Our faithful 


Blessed Lord Himself too, when He would sum 

up in one word the condition of Lazarus, after all 

the privations and trials of life were over, spoke 

of him in Abraham's bosom as '' comtotith" ^ He 

knew the sense of deep inward peace that he was 

experiencing as he realised that his hard lot had 

been suddenly changed into entire freedom from 

care and anxiety. 

When the fact is once grasped that the spirit in 

Paradise is drawn into full communion with Christ, 

1 iii. 1. 3 Rev. xiv. 13. » S. Luke xvi. 26. 


88 Tlu Soul in Peace and Security. 

the Head of the Church, that it is '* brought back 
from the periphery of life to the centre," away, that 
is, from all that disheartening environment which on 
earth mars so sadly all fellowship with Him Who 
desires to be our supreme good, it is quite impossible 
to conceive of its condition being otherwise than 
perfectly peaceful and happy. 

In speaking of the relationship of the saints to 
Christ on earth, even when it is limited by finite 
restriction, S. Peter was able to write: "tohom 
habing not ^tva ge lab^ ; in tokom, tkatijjh turto ge 
sitt l^im turt, grt bdieliing, g^ rejoice toitk jog 
ttn^jrtakable anb fuU xrf filorg";^ what then must 
be the blessedness of those who are set free from 
such limitations, and whose faith is merged in sight ! 
The chief This then is the primary cause of that peace 

causes of , . , 

the soul's which reigns in Paradise, and the sense of security 

union with it necessarily inspires breathes forth in the intense 

™ ' longing of the Apostle ^ to be " at kome toiih the 

IBorb," in his " i^^ire iss btpart " and to be " toiik 

Christ," which he pronounced to be "far better" 

than the life in the flesh. It was not the confession 

of a man who was disappointed and out of heart 

because his lot was a hard one ; it is true he was 

" in bonds " for Christ's sake and the Gospel's ; but 

1 1 S. Pjst. i. 8. 2 Phil. i. 23. 

Tfie Soul in Peace and Security. 89 

we have only to think of the tremendous privileges 
which he had enjoyed, and which must have far 
outweighed his passing discomforts, to be satisfied 
that he would have pronounced the same verdict 
even in regard to life at its best. He had received 
a direct revelation from heaven, and had been set 
apart as a " rk00jen \^tmt\ " to bear Christ's Name to 
the heathen ; he had been vouchsafed a glimpse of 
the future glories of the redeemed, and yet besides 
all this, he was entitled to aCt as Christ's delegate, 
giving health to the sick, sight to the blind, and 
even restoring the dead to life. He, if any one, had 
reason to be satisfied with what he had experienced ; 
but he knew that there was something infinitely 
better in store for him even than all this. It was 
all gathered up in the single conviction of being 
"tHer toiih ib^ ^xrrb," which was to him the con- 
summation of all possible bliss. Union with Christ \ 
was the inspiring motive of his life : he counted all 
things but loss, yea, he counted them as dung that 
he might " toin ®hrx0i." ^ His life was hid with 
Christ in God ; the life that he lived in the flesh he 
lived by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved 
him and gave Himself for him.^ It all inspired him 
with an intense feeling of the surpassing satisfaction 
1 Phil. iii. 8. a Gal. ii. 20. 

90 The Soul in Peace and Security. 

18 over. 

he would experience in the perfected realisation of 
undisturbed communion, and it drew forth his 
decision that to depart and to be with Christ is 
"far better," even than the very best that could 
be granted to him in this world. 

Another cause of "the peace which passeth all 
The know- understanding " beyond the grave is the knowledge 

ledge that , , 

probation that the time of trial and probation is safely over : 
that there can be no more temptation and no more 
failure : the soul has been separated from the com- 
panionship of evil men, and all the attractions of a 
sinful world have lost their cunning. The will is 
no longer divided, and the miserable confession can 
never more be made : " tokat I toottib that ^0 I 
tt0t, but tokat I hate that ^0 I." ^ Henceforward 
there is no possibility of being found guilty of will- 
ing, even by the slightest motion of the will, any- 
thing that contradicts the all-holy will of God. 

" Death," as S. Ambrose said, " has put away all 
those principles within us which war against each 
other, because it is a kind of harbour for those 
who, after tossing on the wide sea of this life, seek 
for an anchorage of secure peace.*' ^ 

1 Rom. vii. 15. 

3 Quia comptignantia dividit, ne se invicem imptignent : et quia 
portus quidam est eorum qui magno vitse istius jactati salo fid» 
quietis stationem requirunt. — De Bono Mortis, i. iv. 


The Soul in Peace and Security. 9 1 

/ f Again, the peace of Paradise is that which breaks Conscious- 
ness of 
upon a soul that realises that its sin is forgiven : pardon. 

that all suspense is over^ and the pardon sealed. 

We know what it is to some condemned prisoner 

to hear that a free pardon has been granted and the 

order of release actually signed. The clouds of 

anxiety are swept away and nothing remains but a 

feeling of complete peace and joy. It is only the 

faintest image of that over-mastering sense of security 

which takes possession of a soul that is carried by 

angels to the land where none but the pardoned 

find an entrance, where the verdict of acquittal can 

never be reversed. 

Then lastly, this peace is deepened by the never- The near- 
ness of the 
absent thought of a growing nearness to the climax Beatific 


of all spiritual joy, the Beatific Vision. There must 
be an unspeakable satisfaction in witnessing a 
gradual and ever-increasing conformity to the Divine 
Image, as those sinful stains which have left their 
mark even on the purest souls are one by one effaced. 
It was the knowledge of this which prompted 
pseudo-Dionysius to speak of the souls of the right- 
eous "beholding their way to immortality more 
clearly as being near to it, and as praising the gifts 
of the Godhead and exulting with Divine joy, from 
having no fears that they should turn aside to evil, 

92 The Soul in Peace and Security, 

A sense of 
peace not 
ent with 
the idea of 

The great- 
est happi- 
ness not 


but being assured that they will safely and for ever 
enjoy the good things laid up for them." ^ 

In a similar strain S. Cyprian wrote : " Simeon 
rejoicing in the nearness of death said, ' ICorb, ttxrto 
lette0t ^hum ^kg 0^bant be|mrt in ifmtt ' ; proving 
and attesting that then have the servants of God 
peace, then are they free, then have quiet rest, when, 
withdrawn from the storms of the world, we gain 
the haven of our everlasting rest and security." ^ 

But how, it may be asked, is this sense of peace 
and perfect bliss consistent with that process of 
purification which we spoke of as continuing after 
death % The very term purification seems to involve 
pain ; it is a consequence of penitence, and penitence 
without pain seems hardly worthy of the name. It 
is true, nevertheless, that with a certain conviction 
that our sins have been forgiven we can go to God 
and make a heartfelt acknowledgment of past in- 
gratitude, and express the deepest sorrow for what 
we have done amiss, without even losing for a 
moment that sense of fellowship with God which 
makes our peace so intensely real. 

Again, it is not necessary even for what may be 
called perfect happiness, that our lives should be 
lived in undisturbed unbroken peace. Yea, it is a 

1 Ecd. Hier, i. 7. 2 d^ MortalitcUe, n. 2. 

The Soul in Peace and Security. 93 

recognised fact that at least here on earth some in- 
terruption upon the smooth and even course of a 
happy life often tends to intensify its joy. There 
are many cases where the interruptions that have 
broken the calm tenor of such a life have been caused, 
as indeed they generally are, by the presence of sin 
and sinful desires warring against the soul, and yet 
the knowledge of this does not make us hesitate 
to speak of those who so live as being in joy and 
felicity; much more then may we attribute this 
blessed condition to the souls of the faithful departed, 
when we know that if their sky is ever overcast it 
is only by the memory of sins that have been for- 
given. It will make the greatest conceivable diflfer- 
ence in the character of our pain and sorrow for sin 
when we shall have within us a sense of absolute 
security against all possibility of its ever being re- 
peated. In Paradise the very sight of the Holy 
Saviour must awaken feelings of deep contrition and 
hatefulness of sin, but it will be no rankling sore. 
This combination of joy and pain of which we are 
speaking was expressed with singular beauty in the 
poet's dream : — 

" It is the face of the Incarnate God 
Shall smite thee with that keen and subtle pain ; 
And yet the memory which it leaves will be 
A sovereign febrifuge to heal the wound ; 

94 The Soul in Peace and Security. 

When, then (if such thy lot), thou see*8t thy Judge, 
The sight of Him will kindle in thy heart 
All tender, gracious, reverential thoughts. 
Thou wilt be sick with love, and yearn for Him, 
And feel as though thou couldst but pity Him, 
That one so sweet should e'er have placed Himself 
At disadvantage such, as to be used 
So vilely by a being so vile as thee. 
There is a piercing in His pensive eyes 
Will pierce thee to the quick, and trouble thee. 
And thou vnlt hate and loathe thyself ; for, though 
Now sinless, thou wilt feel that thou hast sinned. 
As never didst thou feel ; and wilt desire 
To slink away, and hide thee from His sight ; 
And yet wilt have a longing, aye to dwell 
Within the beauty of His countenance. 
And these two pains, so counter and so keen, — 
The longing for Him, when thou see'st Him not ; 
The shame of self at thought of seeing Him, — 
Will be thy veriest, sharpest purgatory." ^ 

This combination, as it were, of the two elements 

of pain and pleasure in the souls of the faithful is a 

mystery that we cannot wholly grasp, but we feel 

a certain conviction that there will be such a vast 

preponderance of joy and felicity that everything 

The else will sink into insignificance. It was boldly 

peace over said by a most saintly writer, who realised intensely 

ud^^^ the blessedness of being delivered from the burden 

of the flesh : " I do not believe it would be possible 

to find any joy comparable to that of a soul in 

1 Newman's Dream of OerontitiSf pp. 42, 43, 44. 


The Soul, in Peace and Security. 95 

purgatory, except the joy of the blessed in Paradise 
— z, joy which goes on increasing day by day as 
God more and more flows in upon the soul, which 
He does abundantly, in proportion as every hindrance 
to His entrance is consumed away." ^ She has given 
the key to the complete triumph of peace over un- 
rest in the faithful soul in the closing sentence ; the 
pains of purification diminish in the realisation of a 
progressive holiness and increasing conformity to 
the Divine Image, till at last, when the cleansing 
process is complete, they cease altogether and are 
lost in joy unspeakable and full of glory. 

It was the conviction that the pains of purification 
would be thus gradually extinguished through an 
ever-advancing growth of holiness which led the 
early Fathers of the Church to speak even of the 
fiery baptism of the day of judgment as powerless 
to hurt the saints who had been perfected in the 
Intermediate State. 

Origen spoke of some who " shall remain in the 
fire, and the fire shall be as dead to them, even as it 
was to the Hebrew children who were exposed to 
the flame of the burning furnace. "^ 

1 S. Catherine of Genoa. Cf. Treatise on Purgatory, ed. by 
Card. Manning, c. 2, p. 8. 

2 In Psalm xxxvi. n. 26, i. 790, Bened. 

96 The Soul in Peace and Security. 

Lactantius is even more explicit : " They whom 
full righteousness and perfect virtue hath ripened 
shall not be sensible of that fire, for they have some- 
what of God within themselves, which beateth back 
and rejects the force of the flame. Such is the power 
of innocence that the fire flies before it, incapable of 
doing it harm." ^ 

S. Gregory Nazianzen described the final purga- 
tion as " perchance the cleansing of a friendly fire." ^ 

Paulinus of Nola echoes the same sentiment : '' If 
we dwell in the city of God by those works, whereby 
we become meet to be fellow-citizens with the saints, 
our work shall not be burned ; and that sagacious 
fire, when we pass through its ordeal, will surround 
us with no severe heat of punishment ; but as if we 
were commended to its care, it will play around us 
with a kind caress, so that we may say, ' WS^t habf 

brxmght U0 in a ylace xrf refr^^kmtnt.' " ^ 

We can have no doubt then that the early 
Christians were right when they laid their faithful 

1 Quos autem plena justitia et maturitas virtutis incozerit ignem 
mum non sentient. Habent enim aliquid in se Dei quod vim 
flammse repeUat ac respuat. Tanta est vis innocentisB nt ab ea 
ignis iUe refugiat innoxiiis. — Bvo. Instit. vii. 21. 

2 De seipso, v. 490. Forbes, Artt. 332. 

3 Ep. xxxviii. ad Lkver, n. 1-3. i. 176, Paris. 

The Soul in Peace and Security. 97 

dead in the catacombs and wrote upon their graves The witness 
the simple but expressive words, In 'pcm?- Those too ^mlw. 
who framed the earliest forms of public worship had 
an assured conviction of the happy and peaceful 
condition of those who died in the Lord, for out of 
a vast number of primitive Liturgies that were used 
through the length and breadth of the Catholic 
Church, there are only two which suggest the 

The fact is our first fathers in the Faith had an 
intense belief in the truth which Wisdom had made 
known, that " the souls of the righteous are in the 
hand of God, and there shall no torment touch 
them," 2 and they were determined that nothing 
should rob them of the deep and abiding comfort 
which that conviction inspired. 

1 Cf . AfUfT Death : The Testimony of the Catacombs, pp. 81, 
87. 2 WiSD. iii. 1. 



%^t Special Sl^fnfjStriejS of t^e feouljS 

of tl^e iFaftJfuU 

TF we are right in our conclusions that there can 
-*- be no suspension of consciousness, no intellectual 
or spiritual stagnation, in the Intermediate State, 
but that the souls of the righteous are ever reaching 
forward " nnto the ittjea^mrje ot tkt s^ttdwct ai the 
fulness ai Christ," it seems only natural for us 
to consider under what influences such progress 
may be made. The objective agencies " iox the 
\ftxttcixng oi the saints, ... for the zbifying -of 
the ^xrbs ^ Christ "^ will come before us when 
we dwell upon the constitution and work of the 
Invisible Church ; ^ now we would only suggest that 
the soul may find within itself hereafter, through 
the continuity of its spiritual ministries, not merely 
a most restful and blessed satisfaction but at the 
same time an efficient means for its own advance- 

1 Eph. iv. 12, 13 2 cf. infra, ch. xvi. 


The Souls of the Faithful. 99 

As in this life, experience shows that ministering 
to those who are ignorant or imperfectly instructed 
in the knowledge of God, is a great means of 
strengthening a man's religious character; as the 
very desire to hold up for imitation the highest 
example of a Christ-like life is a powerful factor 
in developing the faculties that create it, so, it may 
be, hereafter the act of ministering spiritual service 
to other souls within the fold of the Invisible 
Church will prove to be an important means for O 
one's own advancement. ^ 

The possibility of such opportunities of usefulness ^ 
after death helps us to understand the deep mystery • 
of Divine Providence, when God cuts short the 
earthly career of one whose life, as man judges, is of 
priceless value to the Church or the home. The 
influence, the preaching, the ministrations are not 
stopped, they are only transferred to another sphere, 
to be continued with intensified energy under spiri- 
tual conditions, though no material ear may hear 
the voice, no mortal hand shall feel the touch \ they 
are lost to the Church on earth, they are gained 
by the Church in the Intermediate State. 

It is no mere idle speculation of private judg- Christ otir 
ment, at least if the archetype of humanity, the death as ii 


ideal and pattern Man, may be regarded as a model 


lOO The Special Ministries of 

for us to follow in death as well as in life. S. Peter 
tells us that with quickened powers Christ went 
and preached to certain spirits in Hades ;^ again, 
he adds that He preached the gospel to dead men 
in general, for the absence of the definite article 
in the original involves this conclusion.^ It points 
to a continuity after death of the work which had 
been carried on in life. As in the flesh Christ 
gave Himself up to proclaim the glad tidings of 
salvation, so in His spirit, when it passed to the 
land of disembodied souls. He carried on the 
work which God had given Him to do. And if, 
as no one doubts, in His life upon earth He has 
left us an example that we should follow in His 
steps, ^ it is very diflScult to believe that He is notr^ 
also the type of our life in the spirit in the unseen » 
world. It deepens immeasurably the importance 
of our earthly training and pursuits to feel that 
nothing in this life that we do is temporal only, 
but all has its bearing on the eternity that is to 

There is evidence that that act of our Blessed 
Lord in preaching " to the spirits in prison " was 
so interpreted in the primitive Church, which is 

1 IS. Pet. ui. 18, 19. 

2 Id, iv. 6. ical veKpoTs e^nfyyeTilffOTj . . 8 Jd^ y, 21. 


the Souls of the FaithfuL loi 

generally to be trusted as the best exponent of 
the teaching of Scripture. It was one of the 
Apostolic Fathers, whose book was among the most The preach- 
popular in the early Christian Church, and was Apostles in 

.^I fides 

publicly read as being inspired, who distinctly 
asserted that "the apostles and teachers who 
preached the Name of the Son of God, preached 
it to those who had fallen asleep ... by these they 
/were quickened and made to know the Name of 
the Son of God."^ He was followed by another 
who repeated the same declaration again and again, 
and held that " all who believed should be saved, 
though they were of the Gentiles, on making their 
profession there," ^ that is, in the Intermediate 
State; and once he asserted that "the Apostles 
following the example of their Lord preached the 
Gospel to those in Hades." ^ The belief of these Continuity 
early Fathers lends distinct countenance to the work after 
thought that we shall exercise hereafter in the world 
of spirits under spiritual conditions those special 
ministries and peculiar graces which marked our 
earthly life and work. 

1 Hermas, Pastor, iii. xvi. The authorship of the treatise has 
been disputed, but Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome aU assigned it 
to the Hermas named in Ep. to Bomans, zyi. 14. It was held to 
be inspired by Clem. Alex., IrensBus, and Origen. 

2 Clem. Alex. Str, vi. vi. » jj^id. 

I02 The Special Ministries of 

There is a very clear foreshadowing of it in 
the anticipations of the heathen philosopher. In\ 
that sublime defence in which Socrates argues with 
his judges upon the uncertainty of what death may 
bring, after describing the delight it will be to him 
to consort with kindred spirits, and to dwell on the 
injustice of his sentence with men who have experi- 
enced a similar condemnation, he suddenly breaks 
out into a rapture of inconceivable joy at the 
thought that he would be able to continue in the 
other world the work of his life, to question and 
examine the souls he should meet, and find out what 
their characters really were.^ 

If this seems to contradict the declaration of the 
voice from heaven that the happiness of the de- 
parted soul lies in the " rest " that is prepared for it : 
" iffitrite, %\tmzt txt Vat beab tokirk bie in tke 
ICorb from kmrefxrrtk : 2^J^» ^J^itk tke <Spirit, tkat 
tkep map xt^i frxmt tkeir labxmr^; attb tkeir 
Notincon- toork^ bxT fxrUxriD tkem";2 our answer is that it is 

sisiifiuti with 

rest in far from certain that we have rightly interpreted 
what the angel said. There is no doubt that the 
latter part of the message might as fitly be trans- 
lated: ** their works follow with them." It is so pl 
rendered in the Revised Version. | \ 

1 Plato, Apolog, Soor, c. 32 ; cf. in/, ch. zi. > Bsv. ziv. 

the Souls of the FaithfuL 103 

In the one case the words may imply either that 
the fruit of earthly labour is often not gathered till 
those who have toiled to produce it have passed 
from the scene of their labours ; or that the recol- 
lection of past labours, the consciousness of what has 
been done for God brings with it in after time an 
abiding sense of peace and restful contentment ; and 
both these meanings correspond to our common 
experience. In the other case the words involve an 
interpretation which harmonises with quite another 
line of thought, viz., that which has been suggested 
by this chapter. 

The souls of the righteous rest within the veil, 
but it is no idle life, for it is a wholly inadequate 
view of rest to identify it with inactivity. They 
work, but unlike all earthly labour, the work they 
do in Paradise is restful and satisfying. Here it 
matters not how willing the spirit of a man may be, 
his flesh is always weak, and weakness brings with 
it a sense of weariness, and at least some measure 
of disappointment ; but the whole effect upon us is 
changed when that consciousness of failure, which 
mars all earthly endeavour, is taken away, and we 
can feel sure that whatever we do will bear its 

Pascal felt the need of work to be so absolutely 

1 04 The Special Ministries of 

necessary for perfect happiness, that he did not 
hesitate to assert that the want of occupation for 
our moral energies in the future world would turn 
heaven into hell. 

Now there is one great reason why we should 
foster the idea of work in the Intermediate State ; 
it helps to redeem the future life from the character 
of selfishness which is usually attached to it in the 
pictures which men draw. Indeed, so general has 
the aspect of it come to be that it has been said 
It redeems that however diverse the roads which men may take 
life from in their investigations into the possibilities of the 
of being future State, they come invariably in the end to the 
selfislf. same point : " it is a state of gratified and glorified 
selfishness." It is, however, an entirely erroneous 
estimate of those developed powers which we are 
led to expect hereafter to suppose that the mere 
possession of them will be the source of happiness. 
Take a single illustration — mental and intellectual 
knowledge. Which is it that gives to the man of 
learning and wisdom his highest sense of satisfac- 
tion 1 is it the conviction that he has within him- 
self for his own individual enjoyment the greatest of 
all earthly possessions % or is it the thought that he 
is possessed of something which will enable him to 

the Souls of the Faithful. 105 

impart to others less favoured than himself that 
which will brighten and illuminate their lives ] It 
is surely the latter ; and not only here upon earth, 
for it is a maxim that reaches beyond the limits of 
time and space: "it fe tmnr^ bk^^^b txr gibe than 
txr rereibe." ^ It has been said with no little beauty 
of thought and expression, that students of Divine 
truth, whose personal training in this world has 
been spent in pursuing the knowledge of God's 
words and ways, may well be imagined hereafter 
as "bending themselves to the task of tutoring 
the less gifted or less enlightened, perhaps utterly 
heathen, souls in^ Divine science; and finding 
eternally in this a deeper blessedness than the 
loftiest attainments of man or seraph could ever 
yield." ^ The more we shall be united with Christ, 
the more we shall catch of His spirit, and by 
sharing His unselfish thought and care for others, 
grow in conformity to the likeness of Him Who 
expressed the character of His Divine life in the 
words: "Jtts <lfatker toxrckjetk kitkertxr, anb I 

1 Acts x:^. 35. 

2 Contemporary Remew, No. xvii. p. 140. The idea of the un- 
selfishness of the future life is well worked out in the article. 

8 S. John v. 17. 

io6 The Special Ministries. 

" We know not ; but if life be there 
The outcome and the crown of this ; 
What else can make their perfect bliss 
Than in their Master^eT work to share ? 

Besting, but not in slumbrous ease, 
Working, but not in wild unrest, 
Still ever blessing, ever blest. 

They see us as the Father sees." ^ 

^ BuTLEB, Thmga Old and New, p. 14&. 


Sl^utual IGlecoffnftfon anti Eenetoeti 

THE idea of association forms a constituent 
element in our expectation of future happi- 
ness. That which separates and disintegrates society 
is sin ; but when once the souls of men have passed 
beyond the sphere of its influence, they will find 
themselves through union with the Lord drawn into 
closer communion with all the members of His 
Body, their common love for the Head cementing 
the ties which bind them together. 

" Jttanp," it is said, " ahnll amz fxom the ea^t '^^P^lf 
attb toejrf, anb 0hall »xt bxriim toitk <3.brakam anb ^ ^ , 


Isaar attb Jfatab, in the kingixntt of keabm." ^ It 
, would be diflBcult to represent the existence of the 
social principle in the future world under a more 
striking emblem ; and surely if Christ teaches by 
these words that even strangers from most distant 
parts will meet hereafter in blest companionship, 

1 S. Matt. viii. 11. 


io8 Mutual Recognition and 

the promise contains a still stronger assurance that f 
friendships which have begun on earth will be per- i 
petuated after deatL It is subject, however, to one ' 
proviso, for they can only survive the shock of 
death, if they are based upon the eternal principles 
of truth and holiness. Hence the intense reality of 
the doctrine of the Communion of Saints. 

Now what evidence can we produce to support 
the conviction that personal friendships are im- 
perishable — that our love to man no less than our 
love to God is really and more than by any figure 
of speech, " stronger than death" 1 It is forthcom- 
ing in abundance and from every quarter ; indeed 
the consentient voice and hopes of humanity answer 
the inquiry by the strongest affirmation. 

The belief underlies the religion of the heathen 

nations; it shows itself in the language of the 

Aconsensus ancient Jews notwithstanding their feeble grasp of 

of opinion 

on the the future life ; and it is testified to in the Scrip- 

tures of the New Dispensation. Let us examine 

these sources of information severally in order ; and 

first the heathen testimony. 

The evi- The profane writings of classical antiquity almost 

dence of 

the classical teem with references to the belief. In one of the 
oldest poems extant the opinion of the age in which 
Homer. he lived is vividly depicted. Homer represented 


Renewed Companionship. 109 

the hero of his epic as passing into the invisible 
worlds recognising the shades of the mighty dead, 
and holding familiar intercourse with departed 

j friends. Ulysses greets with delight the form of 
his mother, who receives him with a passionate 
outburst of love and aflFection.^ Achilles and 
Patroclus,^ the earthly types of inseparable friend- 
ship, are still undivided in the underworld. 

Then if we pass on a thousand years we find the 
same belief still in vogue. In the Latin epic of VirgU. 
hardly less renown the other world is peopled with 
spirits which remain constant to their earthly friend- 
ships, ^neas receives a cordial welcome from his 

I old comrades in the flesh, and there is a scene of 

1 touching tenderness, where father and son fall into 

' each other's arms.^ 

Again, if we lay the tragedies of the heathen poets 
under tribute, we find that they embody with no 
less force the bright hopes of renewed intercourse in 
the land of spirits. The ill-fated Antigone is nerved 

^ to bear a cruel death by the anticipation of minister- 
ing comfort to her parents who had preceded her to 

j the land of departed spirits : " tomb, bridal 

{ chamber, subterranean ever-watchful dwelling, 

1 Odyssty xi. 84, 151. a u, xxiv. 

3 jEneid yi. 655, and 931, etc. 

I lo Mutual Recognition and 

whether I am going to my relations . . . the last of 
whom and by far the worst I go down, but I cherish 
great hopes that when I go I shall be welcome to 
my father, and dear to thee my mother, and to thee 
my sister." ^ 

But if the thought should arise in the mind that 
this after all is only the fancy of poetry, we can 
meet the objection by testimony equally strong from 
the grave and sober reflections of philosophy. 
Plato. When Socrates is pleading before his judges in 

the face of impending death, he breaks into a 
rapture of delight in the thought of holding com- 
munion with the dead, and though, it is true, he 
does not name those whom he had known personally 
in the flesh, he still speaks of them as friends known 
and read by what they had done or said, " Will it 
not be unspeakably blessed, when escaped from 
those who call themselves judges, to appear before 
those who deserve the title ... or to converse with 


^ & rCfJLpos, & vvfifpeiov, & /cara(r/ca0^s 
otKTiais deltppovpos, ot vopei&o/JMi 
vpbs Toi>s ifiavTTji . . . 
&v \oia6la 'yd) Kal Kdxurra 8^ /jAiKptfi 
Kdreifiif . . . 

iXdovffa fUvToi Kdpr' h i\7rlaa/ Tpi<f><a 
<pi\rf fi^p ii^€LP warpl, vpofftpiX^s d^ aol, 
fJirJTep, <f)L\Tf 8k aol, KaaiyvTjrov K&pa, 

Soph. Antig, 891-9. 

Renewed Companionship. in 

Orpheus, and Musseus, and Hesiod and Homer; 
how much would any of you give to purchase 
this % Believe me, I would choose to die frequently, 
if this be true ; for it would be delightful to hold 
communion with the ancients who died under an 
unjust sentence pronounced upon them. What 
would one give to converse with him who led 
the great armament to Troy, or with Ulysses, or 
with a thousand others one could name, with 
whom to associate would be an inconceivable plea- 

Cicero too, as he sits down to write his reveries cicero. 
on old age, finds its discomforts relieved by the an- 
ticipation of a speedy reunion with lost friends. We 
can never forget the grand outburst in which he 
describes what he expects to see when this life is 
closed. He too like his brother moralist carries his 
thoughts beyond the friends and relations to whom 
he had been united by actual ties of flesh and blood, 
and rejoices in the prospect of looking upon the 
great and noble whom in imagination he had learnt 

1 ri fieil^ov &yaOhiif tgOtov etri ; el yhp rts &<f>iKvoT&fM€vos els "Adov, 
dvaWayels ro&r<ay rGiv tpaaxdvTWP diKaffrwp etpaif ebpiiaei. rods (hi 
d\Tf$Qs ducatrriLS . , , ij at *0p4>eT (nryyeviaOai . . . ivl vitotp 
&v Ttf 5^^otT* dv {//jlQv; iyCi) fUv ydp voWdKis iOiTiii) reOvdvai. 
el ravrd icrw dXtidij . . , ots diaXiyeadai iKei Kal ^weivai kuI 
i^erdj^eiy dfiTfxdvov dv etij eifdatfMplas, — Plato, Apol. Soc, adjm. 

112 Mutual Recognition and 

to love and whom he expected to recognise hereafter 
by the marks which they had stamped upon their 
lives for eternity through the works that they had 
left behind them.^ 

Again^ if we turn from ancient to modem heathen- 
dom, we find the same belief repeated in a greater 
or less degree. Indeed more than half of the super- 
The suttee stition which surrounds their funereal rites is bound 
° ° ^** up with the idea of reunion after death. To take 
the most signal illustration ; what was it that made 
the Hindu widow devote herself in the very prime 
of life and beauty to a premature death, but a firm 
conviction that the funeral pyre of her husband 
would restore to her all that she had lost, perhaps 
would give her even more, so that in their reunion 
they might spend together happier days than they 
had spent on earth % 

This practice of self-destruction for such a purpose 
is not confined to India, or to modern times : for it 
is as old as the time of Socrates, and, as he testified, 
widely adopted. " Are there not," he asks in treat- 
ing of the immortality of the soul, " numbers, who 
upon the death of their connexions and children, 
have chosen of their own accord to enter Hades, 
induced by the hope of seeing there some of the 

1 de SenectutCf 23, 

Renewed Companionship. 1 1 3 

objects of their desire, and of associating with 
them % " 1 

Again, it is the same in the West. Among the The native 
natives of Canada far above the wailings for the 
dead rise the excited cries of a certain hope that 
they will meet again " beyond the hills," and that 
old occupations will then be renewed and friend- 
ships revived under better and happier conditions. 

It is unnecessary to safeguard the testimony we 
have adduced from misapplication. It has not been 
used as an argument for the truth of the doctrine of 
future recognition, but simply on the ground that, 
if it shall be found that the fact is established by 
the evidence of Scripture, it will not have been in 
vain to have discovered the coincidence. It will be 
one more illustration of a truth so often noticed — 
the voice of nature is the voice of God. 

We pass now from Pagan testimony to that which 
is revealed to us in the pages of Scripture. 

There is not much variety of evidence in the Old The witness 

m •-IT* 1111 ^^ *^® ^^^ 

Testament : mdeed it would nave been very sur- Testament, 
prising if there had been ; but there is sufficient to 
prove the existence of the belief. 

1 Quoted by Muston, Recognition in the World to Come, ch. ii. 
p. 30. Additional illustrations may be found in the same author, 
and in Killen, Our Friends in Heaven, Appendix. 


1 1 4 Mutual Recognition and 

We read the lives of the great heroes of Patri- 
archal times, and as one after another closes, this 
is the language in which the chronicler or prophet 
records the fact : He " iieb in a g:(r0b xrlb ag^e, an 
xrlb man anb foil xrf gear^, attb Jba0 gathered 
t0 hi0 p-eopU ; anb hi0 00n0 bnmb him." ^ 9Ba0 
gathereb unto hi0 p-exrple — that gathering was some- 
thing which followed death but preceded burial, and 
it was an event of no little moment. 

Look for its significance to the case of Moses. 
When his work was done, and he had delivered his 
last message in which he set forth the Divine mercy 
and vengeance, God summoned him to His Presence 
with these words : " %ti thee up inta thi0 moun- 
tain Jlbarim, unto Jftonnt #-cb0, tohich i0 in the 
lanb 0f Jftoab, that 10 xrtoer again0t Jfrnrhxr, . . 
anb bie in the monnt tohither thon g0^0t njr, anb 
b^ gathewb nnta thg pexr^rle." ^ 

If Moses had been laid in the grave of his 
ancestors, his bones beside their bones, then we 
should have said at once that the requirements of 
the language were satisfied by supposing that God 
du'ected him simply to be buried in their midst. 
But the sequel of the history forbids such an inter- 

1 Gen. XXV. 8, 9, 17 ; xxxv. 29 ; xlix. 83. 
a Dedt. xxxii. 49, 50. 

Renewed Companionship. 1 1 5 

pretation : " ^o JEo0es tlu svtiaaxA, at tlu $orb 
tiieli tlut£ in the lanli sA ^laab, suotbtits) to the 
iBori rf the Jori ; anb ^e (».«. God) iotteJ hint in 
a balles in the lanb of ^0^, otier ajitinst $eth- 
peot ; bnt no man knotoeth sf his sejmichce unto 
thi0 iag." ' 

It was no burial, then, which the Bacred historian 
recorded when he apoke of his being "gatheteb 
»nto his people"; but it was the reunion of the 
Patriarch's spirit with the spirits of a great an- 
cestry of friends and rehitions who had gone before 
him to the land of rest. 

There is an episode in David's life which will serve 
to illustrate the self-same truth. When the child 
which Bathsheba had borne to him was stricken 
with sickness and near to die, be was bowed to the 
earth with grief; and his servants were afraid to 
think what would happen, if the child should be 
taken from him. But what was their amazement 
when they told him that the child was dead i The 
cloud of grief was swept from his face, and the very 
sunshine of joy succeeded, as he broke out, "QBhile 
the rhitb tuits ^it alibe, £ faeteli anb tnept : for 
3E saib, SBho can tell bohethet ®ati tiiiU be gtaciaiui 
to me, that the chilli mag libe? $nt notn he 10 

1 Dbut. xulv. 6, %. 


1 1 6 Mutual Recognition and 

i-eab, tokerefor-e 0ltotdb i fa0t? ran I bring 
him bark again ? £ 0haU g^ iss him, but hje 0haU 
not rrtnrn to me." ^ 

"I 0haU go to him" — ^there lay the secret 
spring of his joy and consolation^ there in the 
bright anticipation of a reunion after death with the 
object of his love. 

We turn lastly to the evidence of the New Testa- 
ment. Two illustrations will suffice, both from our 
Lord's Own lips, but one in parable, the other a 
direct statement. 
Of the New In the parable of the Unjust Steward, Christ 

Testament. ^ . 

teaches His hearers the right use of riches ; " Jttake," 
He says, " to Bonr0eitor0 txxtxCissi of the ntammon 
of nnrighteon0ne00"; make, that is, friends by 
means of ^ that wealth which is so often employed 
for unrighteous purposes, so " that, tohen ge fail," 
He means, when ye die,^ "theg maj rereibe gon 
info etoerla0ting habitation0." 

Our Lord here represents the spirits of those 
who in their life upon earth had been helped and 

1 2 Sam. xii. 16-23. 

2 S. Luke xvi. 9. Ik rod fiafifiuva Trji dduciai — iK marks a 
cause or source, as in 1 CoR. ix. 14, *'live of the Gospel." 01 
S. LuKB xii. 15. 

' There is a varia lectio, iKXlirxi, i.e. when it fails, when riches 
take their flight; but it marks the same time, viz., death. 

Renewed Companionship. 117 

befriended by their richer brethren — still in the 
flesh, as it were, waiting on the threshold of the 
other world to welcome their arrival when they died. 

The promise of our Lord to the robber-outlaw 
will furnish the second illustration. '' ^3[0-jba;s 0halt 
thou bje totth Jft-e in Jpjirabi^je." ^ "^kou b^e 
totth Jtte " — it was an assurance of their continued 
identity and their future companionship in reciprocal 
intercourse; and we can well believe that it was 
not so much the expectation of Paradise, but the 
thought of the blessed company of Him, the power of 
Whose love he had realised so intensely, and Whose 
forgiving pardon had rescued him from perdition, 
which ministered comfort to his soul. 

Now, if there is one idea which the subject of 
perpetuated friendships ought always to suggest, it is 
that permanence is assured to those alone which are 
based upon the love of God. It is to be a communion The basii 
of Saints : it is only those whom God has joined friendsM 
together that death will have no power to separate. 
It is a call to men to make friends on earth in the 
family of God: "|p<e je not ttttequaUg gokeb to- 
gether toith unbeiietoer^ ; for to hat fdlato0hijr 
hath righte0tt0tu00 tottk ttnrighte0tt0tte00 ? ^nb 
tohat jcomnmnicm hath light toith darkne00?" ^ 

1 S. Luke xxiii. 43. 2 2 Cob. vi. 14. 

1 1 8 Mutual Recognition. 

It is the pure and holy love : it is the sanctified 
affections and attachments which will survive this 
passing world; and if only the foundation of these 
has been firmly laid in this life, they will be strength- 
ened and purified in Paradise, and will attain to 
maturity and never-ending permanence in the glori- 
fied state. 


2DiflB[cultie0 createn 6p t^t T5tlitt in futuw 

TN our ignorance of the way in which our faculties 

-■- will be exercised in a spiritual state, we find it 

hard to grasp the idea of the future recognition of 

disembodied souls. 

The difficulty, however, of preserving our iden- ?^^,P^". x 

tity after death would be greatly diminished if we e°?e of 

accepted the theory that there are spirit-forms, and forms. 

that the soul, when it has left the body, still retains 

some incorporeal shape or figure. It is no novel or 

unauthorised fancy, for it has come down to us even 

from the primitive Church, where it seems to have 

engaged the attention of several of the Fathers. 

Tertullian, in his treatise on the Soul, ex- Patristic 


pressed a very definite belief that '' it retained the 
image of the body by which it had been enclosed " ; 
and in support of this opinion he related a story of 
a Christian friend who frequently fell into a trance, 
and said that on one occasion she had seen the 


1 20 Difficulties created by the 

soul corporeally, not, that is, as a vague shadow or 
spectre, but in a definite form.^ 

IrensBUS went so far as to appeal to Christ's 
authority for such a view: "The Lord," he says, 
" has taught, with very great fulness, that souls not 
only continue to exist, nol by passing from body to 
body, but that they preserve the same form in their 
separate state as the body had to which they were 
adapted ; and that they remember the deeds which 
they did in this state of existence." ^ 

Somewhat later, Macarius took up the idea, and 
endeavoured to explain the possibility of souls 
manifesting themselves to sight by the analogy of 

This testimony rested in no small degree upon 
what is told us in Holy Scripture of the appearance 
of Samuel to Saul at Endor,^ and of Moses and Elias 
on the Mount of Transfiguration,^ as well as on the 
fact that angels have from time to time been seen 

1 TertuUian has written at length on this subject, and uses very 
decided expressions in favour of the soul's retaining some cor- 
poreity after death. Of. dt Anima vii., ix., and de Mestirrectione 
Camis, xvii. 

• il xxxiv. § 1. 

' ^ i^^^ ^X^' flxdva Kal fiofxp^p biioid^owrap T(f dyyiXc^ . , . 
&<nr€p 6 (^(0 6.v0pu)vo% (x^*- ^^i^f>vO' o^w Kal b iau) eUbva ix^^ 
dfioLap T(fi dyyiXtfi koX t$ f^u) dvOpibwtfi fiopipi^v. — Horn. vi. 6. 

4 1 Sam. xxviii. 14. » S. Matt. xvii. 3 ; S. Lukb ix. 30, 31. 

Belief in Future Recognition. 121 

in definite and recognisable forms, though in all 
cases they were spirits or spiritual beings.^ It has 
been sufficiently strong to convince not a few,^ that 
in their separate condition the souls of men are 
possessed of a discernible shape, and retain '' an im- 
material outline," or "phenomenal investiture," or 
some kind of corporeity corresponsive to the form 
in which they were clothed in their embodied 

Thus such a sober-minded theologian as the Marten- 
Lutheran Martensen^ arrived at the conclusion 
that the soul must have some kind of clothing, 
^'some intermediate kind of corporeity" in the 
realm of the dead ; and that this need not exclude 
the fundamental spiritual idea of Hades. If, how- 
ever, such a theory were found to be untenable, it 
would in no way imperil the possibility of future 
recognition ; it would only throw us back upon the 
belief that it will be attainable through some subtler Recognition 
organs of perception than those with which we are dependent 
now familiar. The truth of after-recognition seems co^oreity!^ 
indisputable in the light of what is revealed, though 
the mode of realising it may be quite beyond our 
reach of comprehension. 

1 Cf. I8A. xiv. 16 ; EzEK. xxxi ; Eev. vii. 13. 

a Cf. Umbreit on Sin^ p. 138. s Dogm. Theolog, § 276 


122 Difficulties created by the 

Another difficulty has been often urged from the 
language of our Blessed Lord in meeting the Sad* 
duceean objection touching the apparent impossibility 
of perpetuating the marriage union in the future 
state. They appealed to the Levirate Law of the 
Jews, and adduced an imaginary case in which, in 

Our Lord's 

teaching on obedience to its directions, seven brethren in succes- 
r^* sion had married the same woman ; and they asked 
with no unnatural curiosity whose wife she would 
be hereafter % And Jesus replied to them : '^ ^0 ^je 
ttoi therefore txx, \^zwx%z pe knoJb xitA the S^mp- 
tttr-C0, iteitker th^e p^toer sA (Sob? Jfxrr tohm 
tkeg 0haU vl^z from the beab, theg neither matxg, 
ttor tczz giben in marriage ; but are a0 the angel0 
tokirh are in heaben." ^ 

Now it has been hastily assumed that this answer 
discountenanced all belief in a future reunion of any 
kind, by denying the possibility of it in the highest 
or ideal form. Christ's words, however, must be 
regarded from the standpoint of his opponents ; He 
was called upon to argue with men who held only 
gross and material views of marriage, and had con- 
sequently no conception whatever of the close 
spiritual tie which made the Holy Ghost adopt 
it as a type of the union between Christ and the 

1 S. Mark zii. 18-25. 

Belief in Future Reccgniium. 1 23 

ChmclL^ On the Saddaoeean side it was tempomy 
only; bnt on the Christijui side it was indestrac- 

In so &r as Marriage was an Ordinance institated 
to provide for the continuance of the human race 
upon earth — simply, that is, as a counterfoil of death 
— ^it would have no continuance in the world to 
come. Just as there is no death among the angels, 
so it will be with men and women, ^ ntithtr am Uim 
bu ang more." ' ^ Marriages," says S. Augustine, 
" are on account of children : children on account of 
succession : succession on account of death ; where 
therefore there is no death, neither is there any 
marriage." ^ What, then, our Lord says is : such 
an union as the Sadducees conceived of, tainted bv 
carnal affections and marred by all the envy and 
jealousy which a fallen human nature would neces- 
sarily give rise to in such circumstances as they 
contemplated, could not possibly be perpetuated 
hereafter ; but all this is of the earth earthy, and 
it will pass away and leave no enduring trace be- 
hind. But there may be, and when marriage was 
instituted in the times of man's innocency, it was 

1 Eph. v. 82. 2 s. Luke xx. 36. 

* Cf. the Author's Footprints of the Son of Man : Sadduceean 
Difficulties, ch. Itl 

1 24 Difficulties created by the 

designed that there should always be a spiritual 
bond between them that are married, and in so far 
as this exists the union will be perpetuated after 

Under present conditions in a fallen and de- 
generate state there is no eternal principle inherent 
in marriage by itself. We can only be assured of the 
indestructibility of any earthly union by the know- 
ledge that it has been based upon that common 
love of God which nothing can sever. 

There is yet another difficulty, and of a very dis- 
tressing nature; but the above consideration will 
have helped to remove this also. It has been 
Difficulty forcibly put in the following terms : " if the dis- 


the absence ciples of Christ are to meet with the full recoUec- 

of friends 

hereafter, tion of each other in the world to come, does it not 
follow, that in many instances they must be aware 
of the absence of some who are now the objects of 
their tender and most affectionate solicitude ? . . . 
Must not the consciousness of their condition throw 
a dark shade over the brightest scenes of eternity 1 
The wife may have to shed the tear of unavailing 
sorrow over the object of her conjugal love, and the 
Christian parent be doomed to carry into the regions 
of light and peace something of that feeling which 
agonised the soul of a holy monarch on the death 

Belief in Future Recognition . 125 

of a profligate child ; * © mg 00n Jlb0aljom I mg 
00n Jlb0a;ljoin I Jbotttlb (SjoI) £ hab bieb for thee I 
© Jlb^alxrm, mg 0xm, mg 00n ! ' " ^ 

Now if what we have said about the sole per- 
manence of that element of friendship which is 
based on religion be true, the happiness of righteous 
souls will not be marred by the exclusion from 
Paradise or the separation by the impassable gulf 
of those with whom they had held familiar inter- 
course on earth. All that was earthly and carnal 
in their affection will have vanished and be as 
though it had never been ; for though the memory 
must be ineffaceable, it will leave no sting behind. 
That complete conformity to the Divine Will, 
which will be reached through our unbroken com- 
munion with Christ and the enjojrment of His 
absorbing love, will enable us to accept without a 
murmur or regret God's judgments, whatever they 
may be, upon ourselves or others. We are sure 
that it will be so, for He has promised that we shall 
be " ^xjttal t(r the attgd0." Those blest beings know 
the judicial sufferings, which their companions, who 
sinned and " kqjt tixrt thrir fir0t t0tatt," are now 
enduring, and yet there is not the least intimation 
ever given that this knowledge is permitted to 

1 MusTON : Fviwre Recoffnitionj p. 226. 

126 Difficulties, 

traverse that pure delight, which the Scriptures 
point to as their precious inheritance. 


Fear not the prospect of the realms of woe 
Shall mar thy bliss, or thence sad thoughts arise 
To blunt thy sense of heavenly ecstasies. 
There if thy heart with warm devotion glow 
Meet for thy place, 'twill solace thee to know 
No friend of thine, mid those keen agonies 
In that dark prison-house of torment lies ; 
For none is there but is of God the foe, 
An alien then from thee. The ties of blood 
And earth's most sacred bonds are but a twine 
Of gossamer, compared with what is owed 
To Him, the Lord of all ! " i 

^ Bishop Mant : Tht ffajoipiness of the Blessed Dead, p. 118. 


Cl^n0t'0 SDeistent into ^tll a Wlitntfifl to 
t^t ^tvttttion of 1^(0 a^an^ooH. 

rriHEKE are two articles in the Apostles' Creed, 
-*- the Descent into Hell and the Communion 
of Saints, intimately connected with the subject 
upon which we are treating, but neither of them 
found a place in its earliest form. The Creeds 
were not compiled whole and entire at any de- 
finite time, but after their first issue admitted of 
and also received later developments. Their main 
use in early times was as a test of belief for those 
who desired to be enrolled in the Christian Society ; 
the Creed was taught them as the last lesson of the 
preparation before Holy Baptism. This would 
obviously be both shorter and simpler in early than 
in later times, the necessity for more definite safe- 
guards of the truth increasing with the growth of 
heresy. The belief in Christ's descent into hell 
found no expression in the most ancient draughts 


128 Christ s Descent into Hell a Witness 

The article, either of the Roman or the Oriental Creeds : ^ it 

" He de- 

scended first appeared in the Anan Creed of the Council of 

into hell," ... 01 .i-ii<.i« 

absent from Anminum^ about the middle of the fourth century, 

Creeds. ^^d in the Aquileian ^ Creed at the close of it, that 

is, after the spread of the Apollinarian heresy,* 

which, we believe, it was mainly intended to 

The anti- counteract. The antiquity of the doctrine, however, 

qnityofthe. ^ ^ ' ' 

belief in it. is much greater, and there is hardly any other that 
is more truly Catholic, for it is testified to by an 
almost unbroken chain of Patristic evidence from 
the Apostolic Fathers to the end of the fourth 
century. Indeed, there was scarcely any great 
writer during that period who did not dwell upon 
it, though the greatest diversity of opinion was 
held as to what was meant by " hell," as well as 
concerning the object that was attained by Christ's 
descent and sojourn therein. 

The language of prophecy had created a pre- 
sumption in favour of the belief; the Psalmist had 
predicted it,^ and the Apostle,® speaking under the 

1 Sciendum sane est quod in Ecclesise Romanse symbolo non 
habetur additum, descendit ad in/ema; sed neque in Orientis 
Ecclesise habetur hie sermo. — Buffinus in Expos. Symb. § 20. 

2 Cf. Socrat. Ecc, Hist, ii. 37. Theodor. Ecc. Hist. ii. 21. 

* In the Aquileian Creed the words were descendit in in/ema, 

* This heresy was condemned by the Council of Rome 374 A.D., 
of Antioch 378 A.D., and of Constantinople 381 a.d. 

8 Ps. xvi. 10. « Acts ii. 26-27. 

to the Perfection of His Manhood. 1 29 

guidance of the Holy Spirit, had set his seal to the 
interpretation; "fxrr ^abib," he says, "0peakrfk 
jcoTtrtming Him, 1 fxrre0ato the ICxrrb aXtoag^ 
hrfxnre ittB faa, . . . therrfxrcje bib mg heart retrria Prophetic 

0haU r^Bt in h^pje : berau0je ^hmi toilt nxrt Uabt 
mp 00ul in hell, neith^ toilt ^hon 0nffer ^hine 
l^rrlg ®ne ta 0jce jcoxntptixrn." Moreover, he adds^ 
that the Psalmist spake this with a prophetic con- 
sciousness of Christ's Resurrection. 

It is quite true that the words were capable of a 
meaning which would limit the reference simply to 
the death and burial ^ which preceded His Resur- 
rection, for hell or Sheol is often used in the Old 
Testament for the grave, and the soul of man not 
infrequently indicates his person merely ; indeed, it 
has been even at times regarded as a synonym for 

1 jrpOip^Tis odv ijirA.pX'^v . . • irpOLdCjp iXdXifjffev ircfi t^j 
dvaardaeujs k,t.\. w. 30, 31. 

2 "To see corruption" is the translation of the LXX., IdeTp 
dia<pd6pav. The Vulg. and Syr. Vers, agree, but the more general 

meaning of the Hebrew fintJ' is the pit, i.e. the grave. In this 
case the second clause is merely a poetic expansion of the first. 
It has been objected that if " the pit" is the right rendering, it 
makes it a prophecy that He would not be buried, which was not 
fulfilled; but this is to misunderstand the phrase "seeing the 
grave," which is not simply being buried, but "abiding in" the 
grave ; just as " to see life ** is not to live, but to abide in life. 
The same expression recurs in Ps. xlix. 9, " That he should still 
live for ever and not see corruption," or the pit. 


1 30 Christ's Descent into Hell a Witness 

his body.i In the Law ^ it is written, " If a 00iil 
txmrk attg nnrkan thing ... he tX<&z shall be 
andean " ; and, " the sunt that eateth it shall be 
jcnt rrff "; again by the Psalmist,^ "®rrb toill rebeem 
mg 00ttl frum the yutoer xj{ the grabe." 

To accept this interpretation, however, would 
be a distinct narrowing of the real significance 
of which the expression is capable ; moreover, it 
would render the introduction of the clause, " He 
descended into hell," into the creed otiose and need- 
less, for it already contained the declaration that 
He " was dead and buried." 

There are two other passages in Holy Scripture 

Evidence which support this doctrine ; the first * was written 

New Testa- by the Apostle who had quoted the above prophecy 

^ ' of Christ's deliverance from Hades, and it appears 

to establish the doctrine in question ; " dhtist al00 

hath xrnre snffereb . . . being put t0 beath in the 

flesh, but xpiiekeneb bg the (Spirit: bg tohirh al00 

^e toent anb preaeheb unto the spirits in ircisxni, 

tohirh sometime toere bisobebient, tohen xrnre the 

Ixmg-snffering xrf ©ub toaiteb in the bags ot ^oah." 

^ Beza so translated it, Non derelinques cadaver meum in se- 
pulcra, but he changed it in a later edition, because he said some 
persons were offended by the rendering. — Ed. Test. 1582. 

2 Lev. v. 2 ; vii. 25. 

» Ps. xlix. 15. MS. Pbt. iii. 18, 20. 

to the Perfection of His Manhood. 1 3 1 

This, however, like the former passage, has been ex- 
plained away so as to furnish no corroborative evidence 
of Christ's descent into hell ; but it will be shown in 
the following chapter that although a goodly array 
of divines ^ have been reluctant to admit it, nothing 
less can satisfy the strict rules of legitimate and un- 
prejudiced criticism. 

The second passage ^ is the declaration of S. Paul 
that Christ, before His Ascension, " \^t&wcOszt fftigt 
int0 tke l0to^ jmrt^ xjf tkje ^arth." It is not 
absolutely certain how far the descent was carried 
in the Apostle's mind, whether only to the earth by 
the Incarnation, or under the earth by the descent 
into hell ; but the antithesis of the following verse, 
"a0jcenb^I) tiy far abrrb^ all k:eabm0/' at least 
suggests that in the first clause he intended the 
parts lower than the earth, i.e. Hades. It was so 
understood by most ancient writers,^ and an almost 
identical phrase, KarekOovTa eh Tct KUTforaTa, 
was made in the Greek translation of the Aquileian 
Creed the equivalent of the Latin descendit in inferna. 
Again, in the Sirmian Creed " the parts under the 
earth" were clearly understood as implying more 

1 Pearson, Lightfoot, Hammond, and others. 

2 Kar^^Tj c/s tA KaTdinepa. fi4(yq t^s t^s. — Eph. iv. 9. 

— ^ Iren. adv. Hcer, v. 31. Origen in Matt, Hom. 31. So also 
TertuUian, Jerome, and others. 

132 Christ's Descent into Hell a Witness 

than the grave ; for it is said that on Christ's de- 
scent thither "the door-teepers of Hades shuddered 
at the sight of Him." ^ It cannot, however, be 
denied that not a few writers of note ^ in later times 
have held that the language of S. Paul is fully- 
satisfied by a reference to Christ's Incarnation, and 
that his thoughts were not carried further than His 
condescension in coming down to earth. 

The conclusion is therefore forced upon us that 
there is no incontestable evidence, or at all events 
none that has been suffered to pass unchallenged, in 
the direct statements of Holy Scripture to establish 
the doctrine. The absence of this, however, is no 
justification for the action of the American Church, 
which has determined on these grounds to leave the 
recitation of this Article of the Creed optional. 
Indirect proofs are sometimes the strongest; cer- 
tainly in this case they furnish all that can be 
needed. Let us consider the chief of them. 
The witness The irrefutable evidence of Christ's perfect Man- 
doctrine hood necessitates the belief that His soul, like the 
CiSsf s ^ ^oxi\^ of all men, passed to the place of departed 
humanity, gpipi^s on its separation from the body, for it is an 
essential condition of death. The whole history of 

1 tv irvXiapol Ijjidov 156pt€s ^(ppi^ap. — Socrat. Eccl. Hist, ii. 37. 
3 Beza, Calvin, Schottgen, Winer, etc. 

to the Perfection of His Manhood. 133 

the life of our Lord in the Gospels sets forth the 
truth of His human Nature; He lived as Man 
among men, sharing their lot, made like unto His 
brethren in all things with the single exception of 
being without sin. He suffered, died, and was 
buried ; and just as He bore our nature in life, so 
also He bore it in death, and His human spirit 
entered into that place of waiting appointed by God 
as the habitation of disembodied souls between 
death and the resurrection. 

Before the statement was embodied in a creed 
that He was " perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and 
human flesh subsisting," the fact of the departure of 
His spirit to Hades was alleged again and again by 
the Fathers ^ and Doctors of the Church in opposi- 
tion to the false teaching of that heresy which de- 
nied the reality and completeness of His Manhood, 
by asserting that the Divine Logos supplied the 
place of the rational soul.^ 

1 Huic legi satisfecit, fonna humanse mortis apud inferos 
fructus. — T&rt, de Anima, c. 65. Legem mortuorum servare, 
Iren. adv. Hcer, v. 26. Ad infernas sedes, id quod homini de- 
bitura videtur esse, penetravit, S. Hil. Trad, in Psalm liii. 
Quam descensionem Dominus ad consummatioiiem veri hominis 
non recusavit, id, in Psalm cxxxviii. 

For the use of this fact as an argument against the heretics, cf. 
Athan. iv. Dialog, de Trinitate and de Incarn. Christi; Theo- 
doret. in Psalm xvi. in fine, 

2 The ApoUinarians began by denying that He assumed any 

134 Christ's Descent into Hell a Witness 

There can be little doubt that the primary object 
for making the descent into hell an Article of the 
Creed, was to supply a constant and accepted wit- 
ness to the perfection of Christ's Manhood. Never- 
theless there is abundant evidence in early writings 
that He had other objects in view of a special kind, 
or that other effects were produced by His sojourn 
in Hades. These will be considered hereafter ; but 
there is one view which came into prominence at the 
Eeformation that may fitly be considered here, be- 
cause it is directly refuted by the kindred clause in 
the Creed, which declares the perfection of Christ's 
Godhead, " perfect God " as well as " perfect man." 
The Calvin- The popularity of the belief was due to the iu- 

isticview " 

of Christ's fluence of Calvin. He maintained that " hell " must 

descent . . . , 

into hell, here be interpreted as the place m which the souls 
of the damned are awaiting their final sentence, and 
that the theory that Christ suffered as " a surety " 
for man necessitated the belief that He must have 
experienced all the pains and sufferings of lost souls, ^ 

part of the human soul ; thus Athiinasius says of them : o-ap/cd 
fiov^v 7rpoaofjLo\oyouPT€s, contr, Apoll, ii. 17 ; but afterwards they 
allowed to him the sensitive soul {^pvxh)i but not the rational 
(voOs), — SocR. Eccl. Hist. ii. 46. 

In qua questione ApoUinaristae testimoniis evangelicis victi, 
mentem, quas rationalis est anima hominis, defuisse in anima 
Christi, sed pro hac ipsum Verbum in eo finisse, dixerunt. — S. 
Aug. de Hares, 55. 

1 Cf. Calv. Insiit. i. 15. 4; 12. 18. ii. 8. 6; 10. 5. 

to the Perfection of His Manhood. 135 

Sometimes it was held that He did this during that 
hour when His Father's Face was hidden from Him 
upon the Cross, but more generally it was taught 
that this awful experience was endured when His 
disembodied soul passed to the place of torment or 
descended into hell. 

The history of the Lambeth Articles reveals the 
extent to which Calvinism had laid hold of the lead- 
ing scholars and divines of the day. In the contro- 
versies which raged in Cambridge at the close of the 
sixteenth century, an opponent of Genevan theology 
excited the almost unanimous disapproval of the 
authorities, because he ventured among other things 
to censure a notorious treatise,^ in which the Article 
of the Apostles* Creed on Christ's descent into hell 
had been expounded as expressive of His mental 
sufferings in the place of the damned. 

It was well pointed out,^ however, that the advo- 
cates of the popular belief had no higher ground to 
rely upon than the teaching of Calvin and Bullin- 
ger ; while those who took the contrary side brought 
with them the universal consent, and all the Fathers 
of both the Greek and Latin Churches. 

1 Barret, Fellow of Caius College, preached at Great S. Mary's, 
April 29tli, 1595, against the prevailing Calvinism, denouncing 
vehemently Perkins's Armilla aurea^ in which Calvinism was 
pushed to its furthest limits, 

8 Strype's AnnalSf i. ch. xxxl. 


Christ's Descent into Hell. 

The impos- 
sibility of 

It is a source of satisfaction that with the dis- 
appearance of Calvinistic influence^ upon modern 
Theology such a perverted view of the object of 
Christ's descent into hell has practically ceased to 
find any support; but it is worth while to show 
that there are facts which ought to have rendered it 
untenable from the first. 

It is inconsistent with Christ's promise to the 
penitent thief that after death they would be to- 
gether "in Paradise"; and it is incompatible with 
His sinless Nature that He could ever have endurea 
the torments of the lost. The chief ingredient in 
the pangs of hell must be the agonies of an accusing 
conscience. It is this that is most aptly symbolised 
by the figure of the undying worm. But no such 
sense of sin could have found a place in One Who 
was shielded from the inroads of sin in any form by 
the very Presence of His Divinity ; for the union of 
the Godhead with the manhood was maintained in 
death no less than in life.^ 

1 It is said that though this view of Christ's descent was still 
held by Calvinists in the last century, it has now been suffered to 
drop out of the theology of that school. — Cf. Oxenham, Cath. 
Doctr. 0/ the Atonement, p. 240. 

3 Secundum Divinitatem veram, quae nee loco tenetur nee fine 
concluditur, totus fiiit in sepulchro cum carne, totus in inferno 
cum anima. — Fulgentius, ad Trasiviundum iii. 34. 


€W&t'fi ^veat^ins to ttie fe)pint0 in 

rriHE passage from the First Epistle of S. Peter, 

-*- quoted in the preceding chapter, in support 

of this doctrine, was used by Pearson for a very 

different purpose, viz., as a proof of the pre-exist- 

ence of Christ. From these words, he says, " it Pearson's 

appeareth that Christ preached by the same Spirit uonTf the 

by the virtue of which He was raised from the dead ; to the ^"^ 

but that Spirit was not His soul, but something of f^^^^^ 

a greater power. Christ did preach unto those men 

which lived before the Flood, even while they lived, 

and consequently He was before it. For though 

this was not done by an immediate act of the Son 

of God, as if He had personally appeared on earth, 

and actually preached to that old world; but by 

the ministry of a prophet, by the sending of Noah, 

the eighth preacher of righteousness." ^ He rested 

his interpretation upon the authority of no less 

1 Expos, of the Creed t Ait. ii. § 112. 


138 Christ's Preaching to the 

a person than S. Augustine, who said that the 
" spirits in prison were the unbelieving who lived in 
the times of Noe, whose spirits, that is, souls, were 
shut up in the flesh and the darkness of ignorance 
as in a prison ; to them Christ preached not in the 
flesh, for He had not yet become incarnate, but in 
the Spirit, that is, according to His divinity."^ 
Not a few divines^ have followed him, in under- 
standing S. Peter to refer to the preaching of Noah 
under divine inspiration to his contemporaries, and 
for excluding from the passage any allusion to 
Motives for Christ's descent into hell. This explanation, adopted, 

explaining ^ a ^ jt 

away the it would seem, mainly to escape from the belief that 

obvious 1/^1 

meaning, the Gospel was preached to the dead,^ is abandoned 
by modern interpreters as grammatically inconsis- 
tent with the plain meaning and construction of the 
language. There is no reference in the Greek, such 
as the Authorised Version implies, to the action of 
the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Blessed 

1 Spiritus in carcere conclasi sunt increduli qui vixerunt tem- 
poribus Noe, quorum spiritus, id est, animae erant in came et 
ignorantise tenebris velut in carcere conclusse ; Christus iis non in 
came, qui nondum erat incarnatus, sed in spiritu, id est, secundum 
divinitatem predicavit. — Ad Euodiam^ ep. 99. 

2 Bede, Hammond, Barrow, Leighton. 

* It is very obvious in the case of Barrow, who shrunk from the 
plain interpretation, as his language clearly shows, mainly from a 
dread that it would appear to support the Roman doctrine of 
purgatory.— Cf. Expos, of the Creed, iii. in fine. 

spirits in Prison. 139 

Trinity,^ but simply an antithesis between .the lower 
and higher parts of Christ's human Nature, between 
His flesh and His spirit ; and this is brought out 
in the Eevised Version : " dkrat al00 0ttffer^b for 
£fin0 mice . . . hnng |mt to beath in the fle«k, but 
qmrketub in the spirit ; in tokirk ako ^^ to^nt 
anb mr^earkeb nntxr tke 0iririt0 in 2jri0on."^ S. Peter The drift of 

. , S. Peter's 

is encouraging his converts in the face of persecu- argument, 
tion and trial, and sets before them the example 
of Christ. Provided only that they suffered for 
righteousness* sake, as He did, they had no cause to 
fear, for nothing but good could result from their 
death, as from His. He was put to death in the 
flesh, but in that He died the just for the unjust, 
not because He deserved death, but simply for well- 
doing, His death was an immediate cause of good, 
for His human spirit when severed from His flesh 
acquired new powers of activity and usefulness, and 
went forth into another sphere to bear the message 

1 The A.V. has foUowed the Elzevir, which inserted r^ before 
irvciJ/xart, but it is absent from aU the old Mss., and is re- 
jected by all modem critics. Moreover, according to Middleton 
on the Article, it would be necessary to insert a preposition as 
well as the article to justify the English rendering. 

^ Xpiarbs dva^ rrepl afjLapriQv l^irade dUaios iirkp dSlKcov, tva 
i]/w.s irpwraydyo ry ^e^, 6avaT<o0€ls fih aapKl, l;'<ooiroir}0€is 5^ 
TrveOfMTi, iv (^ xal tols hf (pvXaicy irvedfiaai iropevdels iKi^pv^ev. 
—1 Ep. iii. 18, 19. 

1 40 Christ's Preaching to the 

of glad tidings to the departed spirits of men who 
were there detained. Even so, the analogy seems 
to imply, they by their patient endurance for well- 
doing might win souls to Christ; and it suggests 
the idea, which we have put forward in another 
chapter,^ that the work and influence of good men 
do not cea,se with their death, but are carried on 
under purely spiritual conditions with increased force 
and energy in another world. 

Apart from the general scope of this passage 
there are several expressions which deserve careful 
attention. What was the nature of Christ's ** preach- 
ing," and what is meant by the word translated 
*' prison," and why were the Antediluvians men- 
tioned as the recipients of His message? If the 
spirits to which He preached were the spirits of men 
who had died impenitent, it cannot be but that He 
preached repentance and offered them salvation. If 
this be so, then we must conclude that, like the 
rich man in the parable, they were in a place of 
torment in that part of Hades which is separated 
from the abode of the blest and designated Paradise, 
Patristic or in the passage above referred to, Abraham's 
tihrdeliver- bosom. Two or three of the early Fathers accept 
s^^nera ^^^ conclusion : S. Ambrose says that " Christ de- 

from heU. , „ , 

1 Supra^ en. x. 

spirits in Prison. 141 

scended to the lowest Tartarus and burst asunder 
the bars and gates of hell, and overthrowing the 
sovereignty of death recalled to life from the jaws 
of the devil certain souls that had been tied and 
bound with the chains of sin." S. Augustine dealt 
with the subject on several occasions, once in his 
book On Heresies condemning distinctly the tenet of 
those who held that Christ had proclaimed an uni- 
versal pardon, and emptied hell of its inhabitants ; 
but in another place he accepts a modification of the 
belief, holding that a limited number whom for some 
reason Christ deemed worthy of such favour, were 
delivered from the torments of hell.^ 

S. Cyril of Alexandria says that Christ rose from 
the dead after three days, in which He had preached 
to the spirits in prison ; and he brings it forward as 
a most convincing proof of His love for man that 
He should " not only have offered salvation to men 
upon earth, but also to those who had already de- 
parted and were sitting in the caves of the abyss in 
darkness," ^ 

1 A pud inferos fuit, solutisque eorum doloribus, quibus eum 
erat impossibilia teneri ; a quibus etiam recte intelligitur solvisse 
et liberasse quos voluit. — Ep. clxiii. § 14. Quos iUe dignos ista 
liberatione judicavit.— § 5. 

2 ry fi^ fJLbvov dpaffuxrai 4>Vf^> "^o^^ ^"^t fwvras iirl rijs yijs dXXA 
Kal Toi>s Karoixofi^ovs kuI iv tols rijs 'AjSi/ccou fivxoh KdOrifji^ov^ 
h ffK&ru) — In Joan. xi. 2, 

142 Christ's Preaching to the 

Supposing, then, that those to whom Christ 
preached were sinners, and that BUs preaching was 
followed by forgiveness and release from torment, 
some have drawn the conclusion that ^' if the fate of 
those dead sinners was not irrevocably fixed by 
The natural death, then it must be clear and obvious to the 
from 8ucli meanest understanding that neither of necessity is 

views. >i 


It was not the case of men who in life had never 
been taught what is right, and had sinned through 
ignorance, for it is expressly noticed as an aggrava- 
tion of the guilt that they had been warned again 
, and again during God*s long-suffering with them. 
If then we had been told that in the ordinary course 
of His preaching Christ had offered salvation to 
such men after death, the above conclusion would 
have been perfectly legitimate; but the circum- 
stances were in every way most exceptional. Christ's 
Death was a crisis of far-reaching import, involving 
tremendous issues for the dead as well as the living. 
He had come to destroy death and sin, to spoil 
principalities and powers, and to triumph over them 
rheexcep- in Himself; He could furnish no stronger proof of 

tional char- _^. i . <• i* 1 ^ , 

acter of His authority than was supplied by such an act of 

' free pardon and liberation as is here ascribed to 

Him ; but the very fact that all whom Satan had 


spirits in Prison, 143 

bound were not released, and only a selection made, 
seems to indicate very clearly that the act was 
intended to show that He had " the keys of hell and 
of death/' and that He could open and none could 
shut. But the belief that sinners were delivered 
from torment through Christ's descent into hell has 
been by no means generally accepted by the Catholic 
Church ; indeed Gregory the Great distinctly argued 
that no sinners were released by this act, and that C 
the true faith is that only those who through the ^ 
grace of Christ had lived in faith and good works 
were delivered.^ The Venerable Bede ^ again appeals 
to the teaching of the Catholic Church in proof that 
no unbelievers but the faithful alone were brought ^ 
out of darkness into Christ's kingdom. 

In the absence, then, of any positive evidence 
necessitating a belief that the descent of Christ into 
hell was followed by the pardon and deliverance of 
sinners, we look for some other interpretation of S. 
Peter's words. There is certainly nothing to forbid 
us from supposing that the antediluvians here spoken 
of, though they had been long disobedient, and had 

1 Vera fides per Catholicam ecclesiam docet . . . illos solum- 
modo ab inferni claustris eripuit, quos viventes in came per suam 
gratiam in fide et bona operatione servavit. Lih. vi. c. 179. 

3 Catholica fides habet . . . non incredulos inde sed fideles 
tantunimodo, etc., on Expos, in 1 S. Pet. iii. 19. 


144 Christ's Preaching to the 

resisted the strivings of God's Spirit under the 
preaching of Noah while the ark was in preparation, 
yet when the Flood actually came in and his pre- 
dictions were fulfilled, were brought to repentance, 
beitevTn/ °^ ^^^ sought for mercy — too late to escape the 
that the threatened doom of disobedience in death, but in 

spirits were ' 

those of time to secure the future possession of salvation 

who had and eternal deliverance from the consequences of 
unrepented sin. There is a strong presumption that 
they had been pardoned, for if not, they would have 
been like the rich man in the parable *•' in a place of 
torment " \ but there is no intimation in Holy Scrip- 
ture, and no certain testimony in the Fathers, that 
Christ passed in His disembodied spirit into any 
other sphere than that which was regarded as the 
waiting-place of the souls of the faithful. 

What, again, was the " preaching " here spoken 
ofl It must have been of "good tidings,** for 
it is absolutely impossible,^ as has been suggested 
by those who hold that they were still sinners 
having died impenitent, and that for such there 
is no place of repentance after death, that He 
could have preached or proclaimed their condem- 
nation. He could not have gone to them merely 

1 K7}pjLKT<T€Lv is nsver used in the N. T. for anything but good 

spirits in Prisoft. 145 

to heighten their misery in this way. It was the 
proclamation that His work of Atonement was com- 
plete, that their final salvation was secured by His 
Death; for this they had been waiting in patient 
expectance, and He hastened to become to them the 
herald of the good news He had to bring. To 
interpret otherwise would be a direct contradiction 
to the whole gist of the Apostle's argument, which 
was intended to enforce by the example of Christ 
the hope of doing greater good in the spirit than 
they had been able to do in the flesh. The char- 
acter of the preaching is further revealed, when, 
with an almost certain reference to the same spirits, 
S. Peter asserts in 'the next chapter that "the 
Gospel," that is, glad tidings, was preached even to 
the dead.^ 

What is meant by "in prison" here? Does it The mean 
lend any support to the idea that those detained ^^e "1 
there were undergoing penal confinement for sin and P^^^°^- 
transgression ? By no means necessarily. The word 
is used, it is true, in the New Testament for a place 
of penal durance, but etymologically it is simply 
watch or ward, either for security or custody; and 
it is a term that might be applied to all who were 
in the waiting state, whether good or bad. Even 

^ KoX pcKpois evTjyyeTdffdrj, iv. 6. 


146 Christ s Preaching to the 

if, according to general usa^e elsewhere in Scripture, 
we seem forced to allow the penal idea to enter into 
it, it by no means follows that the " prisoners *' were 
unrepentant sinners. The whole conception of the 
Intermediate State, in so far as it is an imperfect 
one, is consistent with the application of the term to 
it even in a penal sense. To those who belonged to 
the Old Dispensation it is especially appropriate, for 
they were compelled to wait for the fulfilment of the 
promise, till Christ should Himself make known to 
them that His work was complete, and that hence- 
forth their inheritance was placed on equal terms 
with that of those who should die within the pale 
of the Church, in the full knowledge of His finished 
Kedemption.i But Hades under any circumstances 
is a state from which the souls of the faithful yearn 
to be delivered, where even the martyrs cry almost 
in impatience that the time of their emancipation 
may be hastened ^^ but if such an interpretation 
seems to interfere too largely with the blessedness 
usually attributed to the faithful departed, the ex- 
pression is still capable of another meaning. This 
may be given fully in Bishop Horsley's words: 
" The invisible mansion of departed spirits, though 
certainly not a place of penal confinement to the 
1 Cf. Hkb. xi. 39, 40. » Rev. vi. 10. 


spirits in Prison. 147 

good, is nevertheless in some respects a prison. It is 
a place of seclusion from the outer world ; a place of 
unfinished happiness, consisting in rest, security and 
hope more than enjoyment. It is a place which the 
souls of men never would have entered had not sin 
introduced death, and from which there is no exit 
by any natural means for those who have once 
entered. As a place of confinement, therefore, 
though not of punishment, it may well be called a 
prison. The original word, however, in this text, 
imports not, of necessity, so much as this, but merely 
a place of safe-keeping, for so this passage might be 
rendered with great exactness. *He went and 
preached to the spirits in safe-keeping.' The in- 
visible mansion of departed souls is to the righteous 
a place of safe-keeping." 

But how are we to answer the question, Why did 
S. Peter single out the antediluvians from the whole 
mass of departed souls to be the favoured recipients 
of the glad tidings which Christ bore at His Death 
to the other world ? 

It^ may have been that his thoughts were turned Reasons for 
instinctively to these by the figure which he had in t£Vnte°^^ 
his mind and which he used in the very same receive^he^ 
sentence, showing that the waters of the Flood on ^®^^*^- 
which the Ark floated in safety, were the type of 

148 Christ's Preaching to the 

Baptism, by whicli men are brought into the true 
Ark of Christ's Church. Possibly it was the associa- 
tion of these ideas alone which suggested the men- 
tion of this single class ; but it is worthy of notice \ 
that there is manifest in the sacred writers a mys- 
terious desire to connect those who perished in the 
Flood in an especial manner with the message of 
salvation brought by Christ, as though the sinners, 
who had suffered in the most severe and awful of 
all God's temporal punishments, most needed to 
be comforted by the glad tidings of His atoning 

It is the most signal example of those cases " where 
the final doom seems infinitely out of proportion to 
the lapse which incurred it." But whatever view 
we may take of these matters of detail, we feel con- 
fident in interpreting this passage as a testimony to 
the historic fact of Christ's descent into hell. It 
is a subject of regret therefore that the original 
language of the Third Article should ever have been 

When the Forty-two Articles were issued in 1553 

The original A.D., that " of the going downe of Christ into Helle," 

Third was thus expressed ; " as Christ died and was buried 

for us \ so also is it to be believed that He went downe 


1 This is the view taken by Bishop Horsley, cf. vol. L Serm, zx. 

spirits in Prison. 1 49 

into hell. For the bodie laie in the sepulchre untill 
the resurrection ; but His ghoste departing from Him, 
was with the ghostes that were in prison or in helle, 
and didde preache to the same, as the place of S. 
Peter doeth testifie." At the second issue in 1563 
A.D., the whole of the final clause was omitted. 
Conflicting reasons have been assigned to account 
for the action of Convocation, but it is almost certain 
that the controversies which had arisen touching 
Calvin's interpretation of the meaning of Christ's 
descent into hell contributed more than anything 
else to the omission of the clause. One of the 
Bishops ^ complains loudly in a paper written for 
the Synod in the previous year of " the great invec- 
tives between the preachers one against the other, 
. . . some holding that the descent was nothing 
else but the virtue of His Death, . . . others say 
that He did sustain upon the Cross the infernal pains 
of hell," and he bewailed " the tragedies and dis- 
sensions which may arise from consenting to or dis- 
senting from this Article." ^ But whatever the 
cause of the omission, it cannot fail to be regarded 
as a subject of regret, now that there is an absolute 

1 Bishop Alley of Exeter. 

' Cf. Strife's AnnaU, i. ch. xxxi., and Whitoift, p. 504, ed. 

18. Lift ofPark&Tj i. 518. Macbride, Articles, 129, 130. 

150 Chrisis Preaching to Spirits in Prison. 

consensus of opinion among competent scholars, that 
the passage referred to can only be truly interpreted 
as a distinct testimony borne by the Holy Ghost to 
Christ's descent into helL 


%^z 3Del(beranc0 of fe)oul0 from t^t 
IL(mbu0 patrum^ 

TF S. Gregory was right in his assertion that the 
-*- Catholic Faith knew nothing of the deliverance 
of sinners through the descent of our Blessed Lord 
to the place of departed spirits, we must look for 
some other explanation of the persons whose release 
is so often associated with that act in the early 
Church. The requirements of the case will be fully 
satisfied, if we are able to establish the belief that 
the souls of the patriarchs and faithful saints of the 
Old Dispensation received at this time an accession The condi- 
of happiness by being translated into a better state Saints of 
than that in which they had been so long waiting. Dispensa- 
It was designed by God that the Old Testament ^°^4d by 
saints should not be perfected without us;^ ^^** nation^* 
they should wait till in the fulness of time Christ by 
His one oblation should offer salvation alike to us 
and them. He descended into Hades to be to them 

1 Heb. xi. 40. 


152 The Deliverance of Souls 

the herald of glad tidings, to certify to them that 
their spiritual disabilities were cancelled, and to 
admit them into the same Paradise of joy, in which 
the members of His Body await the consummation 
of bliss at the general Eesurrection. We shall find 
Patristic abundant testimony to such an improved condition 
Justin ^ *^® writings of the very earliest times. Justin 
Martyr. Martyr not only states his own belief that Christ 
went to deliver the souls of the just and prophets ; 
but also quotes a lost prophecy of Jeremiah in sup- 
port of it : " The Lord God of Israel remembered 
His dead which had fallen asleep in the land of the 
grave, and went down to them to preach to them 
the glad tidings of His salvation." ^ This passage 
has not been found in any MS. of the original nor of 
the LXX., but there is no question that it was con- 
sidered genuine in these early ages, for it is cited no 
Irenaeos. less than three times by Irenseus,^ at the close of 
the second century; but, even if it is lacking 
Divine authority, it is manifest that the citation of 
it is a distinct witness to the belief of the Fathers 

ffaffdat, aiiToli rb ffuyn^piov airov. — Dial. c. Tryph. 72. 

3 He refers it at oue time to Isaiah {adv. Hcer.f iii. 20. 4) ; at 
another to Jeremiah (iv. 22. 1) ; again he quotes it without naming 
the author (v. 31. 1). 

from the Limbus Patrum. 153 

who referred to it, that the deliverance of His 
holy ones was one object of Christ's descent into 

Tertullian, in showing that Christ as man was TertulliaD. 
dead and buried, adds that ** He fully complied with 
the same law of His Being by remaining in Hades 
in the form and condition of a dead man ; and that 
He did not ascend into the heights of heaven before 
descending into the lower parts of the earth, that 
He might there make the patriarchs and prophets 
partakers of Himself." ^ 

Eusebius at the beginning of his history supports Eusebius. 
the belief by quoting the apocryphal correspondence 
between Abgarus, king of Edessa, and Jesus Christ. 
In answer to an appeal from the king, who had 
heard of His miracles, our Lord promises after His 
Ascension to send to him one of His disciples to free 
him from his sufferings and give life to his people. 
In fulfilment of the promise Thaddeus visited his 
kingdom, healed Abgarus, and preached Christ, His 
Mission, Death, and Descent into Hades, narrating 
how " He burst the bars which had never yet been 

1 Christus Deus quia et homo mortuus secundum Scripturas et 
sepultus secundum easdem, hie quoque legi satisfecit, forma 
hnmanse mortis apud inferos fructus, nee ante ascendit in sub- 
limiora coelorum, quam descendit in tnferiora terrarum, ut illic 
Patriarchas et Prophetas compotes sui faceret. — de Anima^ Iv. 

154 ^^^ Deliverance of Souls 

broken, and rose again, and also raised with Himself 
the dead that had slept for ages, and how He de- 
scended alone, but ascended with a great multitude 
to the Father." ^ 

The historian fixes the date of this transaction in 
the year in which Christ suffered.^ The truth- of 
this may well be doubted ; but its apocryphal char- 
acter, if clearly proved, would not detract from the 
value of the testimony it bears to the object of the 
descent into Hades. It had at least been extant 
long before Eusebius quoted it, for he expresses no 
doubt of its genuineness. 
S. Cyril. One more Father will suffice, and his testimony is 

of importance. In the lectures which S. Cyril ad- 
dressed to candidates for Baptism, containing there- 
fore such teaching as was at the time considered 
necessary to be believed by Christians, in dealing 
with Christ's sepulchre, he says that Jesus "was 

1 Kar^jS?; eh rbv q-br^v koL bUax^^^ <f>p(iyfibv rbv i^ alQpos fi^ 
{rxtc^^ra, koI dy^aTrj Kal ffwfyyeipe pcKpods roj>s dir* aldovwp 
K€KoiiJL7}fi4yovs, KoX TTuis /cttT^jSi; fibvos, dvi^T} dk fierdi iroWoO 6x^ov 
els waripa airroO. — Eccl. Mist. i. 13. 

2 Eusebius says these things were done in the 340th year, i.e. 
according to the reckoning of the Edessenes the 202d Olympiad, 
or the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, a.d. 80. The genuineness of 
the documents has been defended by a number of writers, but no 
written works of Christ were known to S. Augustine (contra Faust, 
xxviii. 4) or S. Hieron [in JEzech., 44, 49), and most scholars 
assign their date to the close of the second century. 


from the Limbus Patrum. 155 

laid truly as man in a tomb of rock, but the rocks 
burst asunder through fear because of Him. He 
descended to the regions beneath the earth, that 
from them also He might redeem the just. For 
wouldest thou, I pray, that the living should enjoy 
His grace, and that, being most of them unholy; 
and that those who from Adam had been imprisoned 
long while, should not now obtain deliverance % " ^ 
Again, in a later lecture, he describes how the porters 
of Hades were scared by the new Visitant, and how 
when Death fled, " the holy prophets ran unto Him, 
and Moses the Lawgiver, and Abraham and Isaac 
and Jacob : David also, and Samuel and Esaias and 
John the Baptist. . . . All the Jews were ransomed 
whom death had devoured ; for it behoved the King 
who had been heralded to become the Kedeemer of 
His noble heralds. Then each of the just said, * ® 
b^atk, tohere 10 tkg ^ting ? ® grabje, toh-ere is thg 
bidorg ? ' for the Conqueror has redeemed us." ^ 

1 'Ei' fivfitiaTi TT^Tpas ir^dr] AXtjOws, u>s AvOpcairos, dXXA irirpai 
di€Jil!tdy7j<ray rip (f>6^ip 5t' ainbv, KaTTjXOep els rA KaraxObvia, Xva 
K&KeWey \vTpdxT7fTcu ro i>s diKalovs. i^6v\ov ycLp, elw^ /iol, toi/s /i4p 
^(avras &iro\avaai ttjs x^P'-'^^^ f^^^ ravra rCov irXeurTwv oix b<Tli>iv 
6vT<oy, ToifS 5i dirb * iroKvxfioviws diroK€K\€i(Tp.4vov5 fi^ 
Tvxeiv TTJs iXevOepLas; — Cat. iv., de Sepulchro, 

2 npoffirpexop ol cLyloi TrpotprjTai. Kal M.caVffrjs 6 pofiodirris. . . . 
iXvTpwPTo vdpTcs ol dlKaioL oVs KdrcKTCP 6 ddpoTos, idcL yap rbp 
KTjpvxO^Ta ^aaiXea tCop koXQp Krjp^Kcap yipeffdai XvrpojT^p k.t.X. 
— Cat. xiv. , Mortis terror Christxts, 

156 The Deliverance of Souls 

This belief in the effect of Christ's descent into 
hell laid a strong hold upon the people, and was 
largely expanded at an early period in the Apocry- 
phal Gospels. The narrative contained in that 
The Gospel which bears the name of Nicodemus '^ deserves an 

of Nico- 
demus. extended notice, because we shall see hereafter how 

much it influenced the writings and works of art of 
the Middle Ages. 

Karinus and Leucius, claiming to have been 
among the saints who arose from the grave after 
Christ's resurrection,^ give to the synagogue at 
Jerusalem an account of what they had seen and 
heard in Hades. They begin with the record of 
certain messages which had come to them in pre- 
paration for the advent of Christ ; this is followed 
by a dialogue between Satan and Hades, who is 
here personified, on the probable results of His 
coming, and a series of appeals to Hades from David 
and Isaiah and the rest of the saints to '' open the 
gates that the King of Glory may come in." Then 
He came "in the form of a man, the Lord of 

1 There are several documents under the title of the Gospel of 
Nicodemus, which are all various forms of two books, the Acts of 
Pilate and the Descent of Christ into Hell. Various dates have 
been given for their composition. Tischendorf assigns them to 
the second century, but the majority of critics place them about 
the beginning of the fourth. 

" S. Matt, xxvii. 63. 


from the Limbus Patrum. 157 

Majesty, and lighted up the eternal darkness, and 
burst asunder the indissoluble chains; and He 
stretched out His hand and said : ' Come to Me all 
My saints, who have My image and likeness ' ; and 
immediately all the saints were brought together 
under the hand of the Lord, and falling on their 
knees at His feet, said with one voice : Thou hast 
come, Kedeemer of the world, to rescue us from 
the powers below and from death." Then Christ 
stretched forth His hand and went up from the 
powers below, all the saints following, singing 
praises for their deliverance, and crying Amen, 
Alleluia. The narrative further describes how the 
Lord gave them into the hand of Michael, who kept 
the gates of Paradise, and how on entering they 
were met by Enoch and Elijah, and the penitent 
thief, the last of whom tells of the manner of his 
conversion, and the fulfilment of the promise which 
the Saviour had made to him, upon hearing which 
all the patriarchs and prophets who had been res- 
cued gave thanks for the grace vouchsafed to them.^ 
If it should create any surprise that Adam is 
here numbered with the saints who were released, 
we may mention that we have the authority of S. 

1 The above is a brief abstract for the most part literally trans- 
lated from the Latin \ Editio princeps. 

158 The Deliverance of Souls 

The belief 
in the 


Augustine ^ for saying that there was a general con 
sensus of belief throughout the Church that he was 
to be placed in the category of the faithful. 

There is little doubt that this description greatly 
influenced the treatment of the subject when it was 
brought prominently into notice in the middle 
ages. It was frequently represented in the extradio 
animarum, or " the Harrowing of Hell," in the mys- 
teries of the twelfth and later centuries. 

In the subtle discussion of the Schoolmen, Pur- 
gatory, as the temporary abode after the death of 
the baptized, was distinguished from the dwelling- 
place of the souls of the patriarchs and prophets 
who lived before the Incarnation, from Adam to 
John the Baptist, which was designated " the Lim- 
bus 2 of the fathers," though at first it was by no 
means clearly defined what the character of this 
place of confinement exactly was. 

In the thirteenth century Dante described the 
inhabitants of it as " blameless of sin," but as sufier- 
ing because " they lived before the Gospel, and 

1 Ep. ad Evodium, c. 6. 

2 Linibus is of doubtful meaning, but in classical Latin it 
meant a fringe or border. See Virg. Aen. iv. 137 ; Ov. Met. v. 51. 
Hence "the border-land" of hell, as a place in proximity to it ; but 
it acquired in its Italian form limbo a worse meaning, as a place of 
confinement and torture— "in Tartar limbo, worse than hell."— 
Shakespeare, Comedy of Errors, iv. 2. 

from the Linibus Patru7?i. 159 

served not God aright," and he represents the spirit 
of Virgil describing the descent into Hades of Christ, 

as follows : 

'* I was new to that estate 
When I beheld a Puissant One arrive 
Amongst us, with victorious trophy crowiiM. 
He forth the shade of our first parent drew, 
Abel his child, and Noah, righteous man. 
Of Moses, lawgiver, for faith approved. 
Of patriarch Abraham, and David king, 
Israel with his sire, and with his sons, 
Nor without Hachcl, whom so hard he won, 
And others many more, whom He to bliss 
Exalted. Before then, be thou assured. 
No spirit of human kind was ever saved. " ^ 

In Christian art the subject assumed a somewhat 
sterner form, and the souls of the patriarchs were 
allegorically painted as issuing from the jaws of a 
monster full of awful teeth, and vomiting forth 
flames. Fra Angelico, however, treated it in less 
terrible colours, though in a most vivid and graphic Represen- 
manner. In a well-known picture of the scene, the christian 
door of Hades is thrown open, and beneath it, ^^' 
crushed by the fall, is writhing in agony one of the 
demons who had guarded the entrance ; other evil 
spirits slink away affrighted and hide among the 
rocks, while a long procession issues from a cavern 
in eager haste running to welcome the Divine 

1 Inferno, Canto iv. 

1 60 The Deliverance of Souls 

Visitant;^ Adam grasps His hand, Eve follows closely 
behind ; Abel is clad in the skins of beasts that he 
had slain in his accepted sacrifice ; Moses is recog- 
nised by the horns of light, David by his crown; 
the rest are indistinguishable. As an indication of 
the belief of the times that the deliverance was not 
universal, but only of those who had earned the 
ransom by their faithfulness, all are surrounded by 
the nimbus of saintliness ; while in another picture 
by the same artist some sinful souls are depicted as 
struggling in vain in the grasp of evil spirits to 
escape from captivity.^ 

This belief, stript of all that was legendary and 
fanciful, received indorsement at the hands of our 
earliest Keformers. In " the Institution of a Chris- 
tian man " they did not hesitate to assert that 
2J^«J>Pi^io^ Christ " spoiled hell and brought with Him from 
early Re- thence all the souls of those righteous and good 

formers. *^ ^ 

men, which from the Fall of Adam died in the 
favour of God, and in the faith and belief of their 
own Saviour, which was then to come." 

1 The painter seems here to catch an incident noted by the 
writer of the Apocryphal Gospel, " The Holy prophets ran unto 

2 The whole connexion of this subject with Christian Art is 
dealt with in a very interesting manner by Mrs. Jameson in the 
History of Ov/r Lordy vol. ii. p. 250. 


from the Limbus Patrum. i6i 

With this testimony we close our investigations 
into the history of the interpretation of the article 
of the Greed that speaks of Christ's descent into 
hell. We have little doubt but that it was intro* 
duced into the formulary of the faith for the main 
purpose of upholding the doctrine of Christ's per* 
feet humanity* It was the necessary consequence 
of the death of every man that his spirit should 
depart thither, and the God-Man accepted the 
necessity ; but in what way the advent of Christ's 
spirit affected those who had preceded Him, can 
only be matter of conjecture. That Hades was 
moved by His Presence, it is impossible to doubt, 
and it rests on the almost continuous teaching of all 
the Christian centuries; further, that the souls of 
the faithful saints and patriarchs of the Old Dis-* 
pensation were the first to benefit by it occupies the 
chief place in that teaching. We accept it, there- 
fore, in confidence, and read in it at least one illus- 
tration of the text, capable no doubt of fulfilment in 
many ways, but in none more really than in this, 
"that theg toithx^ut U0 «h0uli wtA b^ maijc pjer- 

1 Heb. xi. 40. For what is meant in ibis Epistle by * perfection* 
cf. inj'ra^ p. 168 n. 


^^e Con0titutiDti of t^e 3|nbi0ible €^\xu% 

TT will help us largely to realise the possibilities of 
•^ development in the spiritual condition of the soul 
after death, if we can attain to an adequate concep- 
tion of the manifold and potent influences under 
which it may be brought in the Invisible Church. 
The extreme diflSculty of comprehending anything, 
that lies beyond the range of human ken fosters a 
strong disposition to limit our view to that part 
of the Church which is here in our midst. We 
throw into the background of our thought and 
reflection that other part, which exists in infinitely 
vaster proportions within the veil ; and yet we lose 
almost more than we can express by this strange in- 
ciirist's difference to what is unseen. It is equally a part of 

visible and the Body of Christ with that which is visible ; for He 
invisible. .^ ,,^^^ ^^^^ j^^^^ ^j j^^ ^^^^ ^^^^ libtttg."! He 

has " the kzy^eoi hell anb of hti^ik'* ;^ indeed His» 


1 Rom. xiv. 9. 2 rev. i. 13. 


Constitution of the Invisible Church. 163 

dominion is absolute and universal^ the empire over 
-nhicli He rules is one and undivided, for we are 
told that at the end ''^ht S^on of man dhall denb 
forth |^t0 angel0 mt thes sAisM gisther out of 
^10 ^ftingbom " — ^not kingdoms— " all things that 
QUtxxt ";^ it will not be from that part alone which ^ 
will then be inilitant here on earth, but from that 
also which is expectant in the Intermediate Stateu 

Ilt is the combination of the whole, the visible and 
invisible, that forms His kingdom. 

Now the application of the title of kingdom to 
the Invisible proves that this part of His dominion, 
no less than that which the eye can see, is duly 
organised and governed by law and order. The 
unseen world of spiritual beings, then, is not merely What is 
an aggregate of saints gathered together somewhere the title of 

<ii •.1 . kingdom* 

lu a promiscuous assemblage, with no common aim 
or work to kindle united interests and call out 
unfailing energies. It is a host, it is true, that no 
man can number, that is swelling and increasing 
with inconceivable rapidity, but with all its un- 
measured vastness, it is a kingdom, not chaos. It is 
a kingdom too in which law and order not only pre- 
vail but are supreme ; the King upon His throne is Its or^an- 
the centre of its unity : His subjects are bound to 

« S. Matt. ziii. 4I« 


164 The ConsiittUion of 

Him by the indissoluble ties of loyalty and devotion ; 
He has armies fully equipped to protect the integrity 
of His empire; ambassadors to make known in 
every part His sovereign Will, and spiritual agents 
to advance the welfare of all that belong to Him 
from the least unto the greatest. 

Foremost amongst those who thus do His bidding 
in the Invisible Church are the countless hosts of 
angels. It was distinctly revealed to the Hebrew 
converts that in joining the Church of Christ they 
The angelic had " jconte iss Ett iitnunurable cotnpans of angeb."^ 
Elsewhere they are described as an army or spiritual 
hosts 2 or legions ;* and the figures are very sig- 
nificant, for they bespeak at once discipline and 
cohesion and community of interest. 

The legions of the angels are officered by spirits 
of differing rank and with divers functions ; there 
are princes and rulers ; there are also archangels 
and cherubim and seraphim. At the head of the 

1 Heb. xiL 22. The agency of the angels and their influence 
upon the Church yisible is foreshadowed in our Lord's promise to 
Nathanael, when he was enrolled into Christ's Body: "Hereafter 
ye shall see hearen open, and the angels of God ascending and 
descending upon the Son of man." — S. John i. 51. 

2 The title "Sabaoth" is the military expression for "armies.* 
" Mahanaim," the twin hosts, was the name giyen by Jacob to the 
place where "the angels of God met him."— Gen. zzzii. 2. Ct 
Pan. iv. 35. 

» S. Matt. xzvi. 53. 

the Invisible Church. 165 

angelic hierarchy is Michael,^ the Guardian and The seven 
Champion of God's chosen people Israel ; then there 
is Gabriel,^ the great herald of the Incarnation with 
some special charge, we can well conceive, over the 
Body of which the Son of Man is the Head. Both 
of these are named on the authority of Inspiration ; 
two others, Raphael* and Uriel,* on the subordinate 
testimony of the Apocrypha : the one to be an angel 
of mercy, as the Divinely-commissioned healer ; the 
other to reflect in his operations, as well as in his 
name, the Light and Fire of God.^ Besides these 
there are three others, as the Jews believed, 
Iluchael,^ the angel of the wind ; Abdiel, the special 
attendant upon God, and Sammael, the messenger 
of death ; or according to some early traditions of 
Christianity, Zophiel, Chamuel, and ZadkieU. But 

1 Dan. X. 13 ; xii. 1 ; S. Judb 9. 
a Dan. viii. 16 ; S. Luke i. 19, 26. 
» ToBiT Y. 4, 16 ; xi. 7. 
« 2 ESDBAS iv. 1 ; y. 20 ; z. 28. 

s Milton in consequence of his name makes him the guardian 
angel of the Sun : 

*'Saw within ken a glorious angel stand, 
The same whom Jolin saw also in the sun.** 

Paradise Lost, iii. 622, 623, and 648. 
< So Heb. i. 7 ; 6 iroiQy roi>s dyyiXovt ai)roD Tvei^/Aara. It is 
A witness to the belief that the angels regulated the works of 

' Zophiel was one of those who guarded the entrance of Paradise 
with a flaming sword.— Gkn. iii. 24. Chamuel wrestled with 
Jacob at the brook Jabbok.— Gbn. zzxii. 24. Zadkiel pointed to 

1 66 The Constitution of 

whatever they are named we are told that they are 
" seven," ^ and seven is the perfect number. ^ Ifc 
teaches that the army of heaven is under perfect 
wofold The angels have a twofold office, first as minister- 


Is. ing before God, secondly as servants of men.* They 
are "minietmng 0pirit0"; %,e. they bear their 
part in the great Kitual Worship of the spiritual 
Temple, fulfilling a priestly office in presenting be- 
<bre God the prayers of the saints. In the vision 
which S. John saw, an "" attgel came anb 0t0xrb at 
Ihe altar, habing a 90l!ben center ; anb there loa^ 
Qibeu unt0 him murh ineen0e, that he 0K0ttlb of er 
it tDtth the innsgetd at all 0aint0 upon the Qolben 
altar tohieh toa0 before the throne."* And again, 
" all the ait8el0 0toob rouub about the throne . . ; 
anb fell before the throne oxi their face0, anb 
toor0hippeb (5ob."^ The angels also are "0eut 
forth to mini0ter® for them toho 0hall be keir0 of 

the ram caught in the thicket. — Gen. zxii. 13. On the whole 
subject, cf. Herzoo, Real-Encyclqpddie, b.v. Enoel. , 

1 ToBiT xii. 15. » Cf. supra, ch. i. 

s Hkb. i. 14. Xf trov/yyuc^ jrvtOfAara. The use of X6troi;/)7eti' is 
to serve God in a special office ; to minister to Him in holy things. 
Cf. 1 Sam. ii 11 ; Nehem. x. 89; Ezek. zliv. 30; S. LukeL 23 $ 
Heb. viii. 2 ; x. 11. 

* Rev. viiL 8. » Ruv. Tit 11. 

^ It is not the same word as was used in the first part of the 
verse, <* ministering," but ci$ diaKoylay, ** for the seirviqe "of meu« 

the Invisible Church. 167 

0alt)Eti0n "; i.e. they perform helpful offices towards 
meiiy both before and after death. They are re- 
vealed to US in Holy Scripture as warning,^ 
strengthening, 2 illuminating,^ and delivering* those 
who are alive upon the earth ; and they are repre- 
^nted as bearing the departing soul to its place of 
waiting between death and judgment. It is our 
Lord's Own testimony that Lazarus " tDit0 rarricb 
bg the aiigel0 xxAq <^braham bcg^m.*'^ 

As we are told that the angels throw their pro- 
tecting aegis over the bodies of men, so also do their 
" ministries " extend to the special welfare of the 
soul ; for it is not only written that '^ ^e 0haU gibe 
^t0 Ettgel0 jcharge ober thee in keep thee tit nil 
tits ^^S^ ' thes 0hitU bear thee up in their hanbe, 
leet th0ti baeh thg ifssA agatnet a 0t0ne " ; ® but 
also, " there t0 jxrs in the pregenre zi the angcl0 x)£ 
(50b 0bcr 0ne einner that repenteth " ; ^ and we can- 
not doubt that if the recovery to the fold is a source 
of rejoicing to them, the subsequent condition of the 
recovered soul, its progressive holiness and purifica- 
tion in Paradise, must be an objedt of the keenest 
interest and watchfulness. Yet further, if we believe 

1 S Matt, il 13. a Dan. x. 18. » Dan. viii. 18; 

* Ps. xci. 11, 12 ; Dan. iii. 28 ; Acts xii. 7, 10. 
» S. LuKK xvi. 22. 
, • Ps. xci. 11, 12, 7 S. Luke xy. 10. ; 

1 68 The Constitution of 

that a guardian angel is attached to each individual, 
it follows almost of necessity that its controlling 
power is not bounded by the earthly life of the 
object of its care, but that it continues to be exerted, 
and exerted with greater success, when the spirit 
lias passed into that sphere where there is less to 
thwart and contradict its influence. 

In addition, then, to the effect produced upon the 
disembodied soul by the sanctifying Presence of 
Christ in Paradise, Whose office it is to draw souls 
to the Father, wherever He is, we cannot ignore the 
efficient help of those spiritual beings, who stand 
be. ore His throne day and night, ever ready to act 
for Him in the service of men. 

There are in the Invisible Church, besides the 
angels, " the 0pirit0 xrf jwt vxtx^' those who have 
completed their earthly probation, whose perfect 
holiness ^ hereafter is assured to them through their 
entrance into Paradise. We have seen abundant 


^ " Te are come . « • to the spirits of just men made perfect. 
x/KxrcXiyXi/^aTe . . , irv€6fui4n duccdtap TereXeuafihbav. — Hkb. 
ziL 22-3. This passage has been isolated from the rest of the 
Bpistle and interpreted as contradictinji^ the idea of progress after 
death. Probably the expression is of only special application. 
The " perfection" of the Epistle is the being brought near to God, 
vii. 11, 19, the result of the fulfilment of the promised redemption. 
It was this state into which the Old Testament saints were ad- 
mitted through the Incarnation and Atonement, xi. 40. Thia 

the Invisible Church, 1 69 

proof that they do not remain there in a state of The souls 
torpor and insensibility, but are ever advancing in righteous 
spiritual and intellectual knowledge, and in all that 
tends to complete sanctification. There must, then^ 
be soulis in the Intermediate State at different stages^ 
of progressive holiness, and such inequality almost ' 
necessitates the belief that the more advanced 
irill be able to help on those who are behind and C 
less perfect than themselves. In estimating, there-> 
fore, the agencies at work ^' £ot the perferting 
sA the 0aint0 zxih the ebifgittg of the Ipobs ^i 
Christ" within the veil, we may not ignore the 
spiritual ministries of the souls of the faithful. 

Then in addition to the agencies of the holy angela 
and of just men in advancing God's kingdom in the 
Invisible Church, or rather in co-operation with 
them, there is the One informing quickening Spirit 
by Whom the whole life of the Body of Christ is The agency 
sustained. The teaching of Scripture, though it Spirit in 
may be only indirectly expressed, points to the of spirits. 

rAos they could not receive '' without us " : it was reached by 
both alike and simultaneously. No one can say that any of us 
have been ''made perfect" in the ordinary sense of the word, but we 
have received the fulness of the promise : we can draw near to God 
in full assurance of faith. ^' The spirits made perfect " are pro« 
bably those spoken of in zi. 40, and if so, this expression in no 
way traverses the Catholic doctrine that spiritual sanctification 
goes on even till the judgment. PHn^ L 6 ; 1 Cob. i. 7, 8. 

J 70 The Constitution of 

continuity of the operations of the Holy Ghost after 
death. There is one Body and one Spirit; and 
wherever Christ is, there is His Spirit ; and if in 
the Church on earth, it is His Presence dwelling in 
the hearts of its individual members that justifies 
the apostolic assertion that they become thereby 
nothing less than *^ \tXKf\t9i of the Ipolg (6lt00t " ; ^ 
if it is from this Divine source that every good and 
holy motive, every righteous and charitable act takes 
its spring ; if it is through His enlightenment that 
glimpses of the eternal truth are revealed to men ; 
or again, if the Perfect Life is rendered more capable 
of imitation because the Holy Spirit takes the 
things and the words of Christ and makes them iu- 
telligible to men ; if all this is accomplished in a 
state where there is never absent the countervailing 
opposition of our lower nature, distorting, impeding, 
thwarting every right disposition, so that it has 
been said, '' the fle^h In^teth agninet thj^ Sipirit. 
attb the Slpirit againet the fleish ; anb the0e are 
fditrarg the one to the other ; 00 that ge eannot 
jbo the things that ge toculi " ; ^ then who shall be 
able to measure the extent of the same Spiritual 
Agency and operations in that state, where all such 
obstacles have been taken away, where it can no 

y 1 Cob. iii. 10 and vi. 19. > Gal. y. 17. 

the Invisible Church. \ 7 1 

longer be said that " the corruptible body presseth 
down the soul,"^ but the emancipated spirit will be free 
to hold unrestrained communion with the Spirit of 
God and Christ? All we can say is, that " tohete the 
Spirit 0f the $0rlr i0, three x» Ubtrtg " ; ^ there is 
freedom to yield ourselves without let or hindrance 
of any kind to the Divine leading, till at last '^ toe 
all, toith tinbcileb fare teflerfing -m in a mirrjor 
tite glotB tA the Ipotb. are tran^fxrrmeb into the 
iE»ame image fr0m glmrg t0 glorg, eben a0 fr^m the 
Sxrri the Sinrit." » 

I Wisdom ix. IJi. 
' « 2 CoiB. iii. 17. • Id. iU. 18. Revised Version. 


^n^glhiiitit^ of Saltation for t^e ^tatiim 
in t^e 3|rttermeliiate &tate^ 

TVTO consideration of the Intermediate State 
-*-^ would be at all adequate which took no 
account of the souls of the many millions who have 
died both in heathen and Christian lands without 
ever having learned the way of salvation. We do 
not purpose in this investigation to deal with the 
condition of those who may be regarded as lost; 
the whole question of the doom of the wicked is 
one from entering upon which our instincts repel 
Untenable ug^ But there has been so much that seems to us 

views on 

the destiny to be utterly baseless and false assumed with regard 
heathen, to the future of the heathen, that we feel constrained 
to vindicate the belief of the Catholic Church from 
the wholly untenable position which too many of 
her teachers have taken up. Now, when we bring 
ourselves to face this great problem, two questions 
present themselves for consideration. First, can the 
heathen be judged, as it is asserted that Christians 




Salvation for the Heathen. \ 73 

will be, by the deeds done in the body \ In other 
words, will their rewards or punishments be regu*^ 
lated by the way in which they have obeyed the law 
of conscience that is written in their hearts ? 

Or, secondly, will they, as being without the pale 
of the Church and the consequent promises of Holy 
Scripture, be consigned to final and irretrievable ruin) 

S. Paul, in the Epistle to the Eomans, has been a Paul*t 
commonly supposed to answer the first question in 
the afSrmative : " dxrb, tohir Jbill xtxdstx iQ jebrrg 
man artotbing t0 hte b^^b0 ; . ^ . f xrr there ie 110 
xz^TfttX oi ptxsfxma toiih (&oi. dfor tea mmxyi ao 
habe »xnxub toithout lato j^hall al0xr ftxisk toithout 
latD ; mxb ais VMAvt^ a0 habe a^inneb in the latD ehall 
be jttbgeb bg the lato ; for n^t the hearere ot 
the laJb are }U0t hefxrre (Sxrb, hut the ions oi the 
latD dhall be ju^tifieb. Jfxrr tohen the (Stntika, 
jbhirh hahe not the lato, io bg nature the thing0 
£xmtaineb in the latD, the0e, halitng not the latD, are 
a lato nnt0 them0ell)e0 ; Jbhieh 0hetD the toorh of 
the latD Jbritten in their heart0, their £0n0rienee 
al00 bearing Jbitne00, anb their thought0 the mean- 
while arai0ing ox zht exrn0ing one another ;) in 
the bag lolten (Sob 0hall jubge the 0ea:et0 of mtxt 
kjj Jfe0U0 €hri0t arrorbing to mg go0ycl." ^ 

1 Rom. u. 6-16. 

174 Possibilities of Salvation for the 

It will be observed that this declaration does not 
apply to all Gentiles, but is limited to those who 
are found, without any Divine teaching, to have been 
guided by the voice of conscience to do what is 
rcivealed to others by the direct voice of God ; it is 
those who do ^^ the things contained in the law " 06 
whom he speaks. We should have imagined that! 
no one would have grudged such as these the hope 
of salvation; but even our own branch of th& 
Catholic Church at one period committed itself to 
their condemnation, . 
Fhe witness In the Homily on good works, we read, "If a 
Eiomilies. heathen man clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and 
do such other like works ; yet, because he doth them' 
not in faith for the honour and love of God, they 
be but dead, vain and fruitless works to him. Faith 
it is that doth commend the work to God ; for, as 
S. Augustine saith, whether thou wilt or no^ that 
work that cometh not of faith is naught; where 
the faith of Christ is not the foundation, there is no: 
good work, what building soever we make." ^ 

But, as we said, it is only a small number of: 
whom S. Paul speaks ; he says nothing of those who,^ 
however conscientiously, live according to principles- 

1 The passage aUuded to in S. Aua. is Cordr, Julianum, lib. iv. 


Heathen in the Intermediate State. 175 

which God has nowhere inculcated. What is. to 
become of the masses of heathen who, while fulfil- 
ling the laws of Paganism, violate the fundamental 
laf^s of purity and holiness 1 Can they possibly 
earn salvation as the reward of their deeds % The 
salvation of. the soul means the entrance upon that 
state in which it will enjoy the Vision of God. 
Now Scripture has laid down very clearly what the 
qualification is for this fruition. It is holiness ; The one 
"toithmit h0Unt00 xva man akall 0W the ICxrrb." Son fo^ihe 
It is purity: "bU00eh are ike pure in heart, for God. "^^ 
theg 0haU 0ee (Sob " : or again, " there 0haU enter 
in," that is, to the presence of God, " nothing that 
befileth." But in many Pagan religions the highest 
standard of life is based upon immorality ; lust and 
sensuality enter into the observance of their sacred 
mysteries; what therefore the votaries of such 
systems may have conscientiously sought as their 
greatest good may be simply an abomination and 
utterly hateful in God's sight. It is quite in- 
consistent that a character formed upon such false: 
and immoral practices and principles should ever be 
admissible to the Presence of Him, Who is ''of 
purer ejjeg than t^ beholb inirjuitg." It is iu-. 
Qonceivable that a probation, under which the lives 
(^f such heathen, no matter how deep the natural 

1 7 6 Possibilities of Salvation for the 

ignorance in which they have been sunk, is passed 
on earth, can satisfy the all-holy God, or that the 
way in which they have yielded obedience to Pagan 
laws of right and wrong can possibly give them 
that reward of salvation which God has fenced and 
guarded from the least touch of impurity. 

However much the feelings of charity may dis- 
pose us to accept the plausible and attractive 
principle that God will judge the heathen accord- 
ing to his conscientious fulfilment of his own laws, 
whatever their nature, there are insurmountable 
objections to it. It is distinctly condemned more- 
over by our Confessions of Faith. The 18th of 
the Thirty-nine Articles teaches decisively that 
obedience to the natural conscience cannot possibly 
entitle a man to salvation ; yea, it rejects the idea 
so strongly as to affix an anathema upon those who 
ThelSth venture to suggest it: "They also are to be had 


accursed that presume to say, That every man shall 
be saved by the Law or Sect which he professeth, 
so that he be diligent to frame his life according to 
that Law and the light of Nature. For Holy Scrip- 
tures doth set out unto us only the Name of Jesus 
Christ whereby men must be saved." 

The second question that we propounded is this : 
Call the heathen obtain salvation without the pala 

Heathen in the Intermediate State. 177 

of the Church 1 There is little doubt that the early is salvation 
Fathers, ^ith few exceptions, gave a peremptory extra 
answer in the negative. Justin Martyr,^ Clement ^ ^ 
of Alexandri^^ Tertullian,^ and S. Chrysostom^ 
spoke less despairingly than their fellows ; but the 
Patristic saying^ extra ecdesiam mdla salris, gathered 
up into an axiomatic form the general belief of 
primitive Times.' It became stereotyped through 
the teaching of S. Augustine ; ® and all through the 
medisaval ages the very gloomiest views prevailed, 
till the instincts of Dante, whose mind was cast in 
a different mould, rose in rebellion against the 
prevailing indifference of the age, which could con- 
sign the millions of heathendom without com- 
punction to irretrievable ruin. But so ingrained 
was the belief, that it was suffered to cast a shadow 
over the Paradise ; at least Dante hesitated to 

1 Apol. i 56. 

' vpb Trjt ToG Kvplov rapovjlas els diKaio(r6vijv''EXKrf(rtv ivayKoUa 
^Xoffoipla, Strom, L 

s De philosophis quos superbia severitutis et saevitia disciplinoe 
ab omni timore securos, nonnuUus etiam afiOatusVeritatis ad versus 
Deos erigit. ad Nat i. 10. 

« Horn. vi. in Ep. ad Bom. 

B Cf. idv fiij vurrei^tijjtv els rd alfia XpLtrrov KiKctvois Kpljit 
hrrlv, Ignat. ad JSmym, vi Qui non coacurrunt ad ecclesiam 

. . semetipsos fraudaiit a vita. S. Iren. adv. Hair, iii 40. 
Habere jam non potest Deum Patrero, qui Ecclesiam non habet 
xnatrem. S. Cypr. de unit, eccl, ' 

< S. Aug. depeccat, merUis, c. 11. Contr, Julian, iv. 80. 



1 78 Possibilities of Salvation for the 

» express in words what he clearly felt about the 

injastice of such reckless condCTUiatioiiy and satisfied 
himself by assaming the attitude of the agnostic, and 
answered the question/ Where is the justice of 
such a decree t by counselling reserve : 

" Nay, who arfc thon, who on thy bench dost rit. 
To judge with thy short vision of a span 
The thousand miles of distance infinite ? *' 

At the Beformation the general enlightenment 
failed to throw any brightness upon the destiny of 
the heathen, mainly through the influence of Calvin,^ 
whose narrow views of predestination and election 
Themfla- harmonised with the Augustinian belief. It was 
Calvin's perpetuated, as we have seen, in the Homily of Good 
Works. Noel's Catechism answered the question, 
^ Is there no hope of salvation out of the Church % " 
by an unhesitating declaration that ^'without it 
there can be nothing but damnation and death." 
The Eefarmatio Legum^ and The InstUviion of a 
Christian Man^ taught precisely the same; and itj 

1 Cf. Plumftbe's Spirits in Prison, p. 166, where he dweUs at 
length npon Dante's teaching. 

* Instil, iv. 1, i. 

s It denounced the wider hope as hombilis et inanis Uasphemia. 
^De Hair. c. 21. 

^ It deals with the kindred question of unhaptized children, 
denying them salvation* • . 



Heathen in the Intermediate State. 179 

was Dot till the great divinee ^ of the seventeenth 
century shook off the incubus, that the Church eman- 
cipated itself from views that were most difficult to 
reconcile with principles of justice and right. It is 
true that there are still individual teachers who 
cannot bring themselves to conceive of the heathen 
otherwise than as doomed to destruction ; and it is 
not a little significant of the tenacity of the old 
faith, that the late Primate of the English Church 
should have found it necessary to administer a 
public rebuke in one of his charges. He was roused 
to a sense of the need by the fact that one of his 
clergy had actually used it as an argument for mis- 
sionary effort, that, to quote his exact language, "at 
every ticking of the clock, in every four-and-twenty 
hours, from month to month and year to year, God 
sends a heathen straight to never-ending misery." ^ 
Such a view as this must meet with general con- 
demnation ; that which is more consonant both with 
the spirit of the age and with the teaching of Scrip- 
ture may be fairly represented by the following ex- 
tract from one of our chief Reviews. The author of 
an article on " The Spiritual Theory of another Life," 

1 Cf. Jkb. Tatlob, Diaswisive from Popery^ i. 8. 
■* Charge to the London Clergy^ 1866, quoted by Plumftr^ 
Sifirits, etc., 184. 

1 80 Possibilities of Salvation for the 

The growth Writes in reference to this subject : *^ It becomes 
Scriptural every day more intolerable for the Christian mind 
^®^** to entertain the notion of the general or universal 
perdition of the heathen. Commerce and science 
together impress us more and more with their enor- 
mous numbers; Christianity deepens our sense of 
brotherhood with them all, and, consequently, of the 
leather's part in them; and the more impossible 
therefore it becomes almost daily even for the 
severest type of Christian mind to accept the verdict 
in their case — all lost. It becomes, therefore, on 
the other hand, every day the easier to suppose the 
missionaries and philanthropists, the Xaviers and 
Moffats, of all time and all lands, not superannuated 
in a blessedness foreign to all their earthly experi- 
ence, but in never-ending toil experiencing a never- 
ending joy. Instances like these, not difficult to 
imagine, are suggestive of reflections bearing on the 
problem of that occupation for our moral energies, 
without which heaven would be for Pascal, and all 
such souls, a place of ennui, of chagrin, of darkness 
and despair." ^ 

It behoves us to see if we can discover whether, 
the more hopeful view, which has been growing up 
since the Reformation, rests upon any substantial 

1 The Contemporary Review, ▼ol. xvii. p. 140. 

Heathen in the Intermediate State. 1 8 1 

basis or not We trust to be able to show that it 
does, and at the same time to bring it into entire 
harmony with the strong belief of primitive times, 
that salvation was to be found only within the pale 
of the Catholic Church. 

First, we would adduce some of the statements The justice 
of Holy Scripture that seem to militate against the claims thai 
possibility of any class of men being handed over should ^"^ 
to ruin and perdition simply from ignorance of^Jj^^nt^ 
the appointed way of salvation. God is a Being of 
absolute justice. "Jfuetire -Sixiis jubgrnettt ar-e tkt 
habitation -of ^kg tkrxme."^ "Shall not the 
Jttbgt x)f all tht -earth \ss right ? ^ ^ 

It cannot be consistent with these Divine attri- 
butes to consign to the company of the devil and his 
angels, vast masses of men, who have never been 
taught the better way, who have been bom and 
grown up and died without one ray of knowledge to 
lead them to God. There is then a strong presump- 
tion against their destruction. But there are other 
passages of Scripture that have need to be reckoned 
with, which seem adverse to the better hope. The 
present life is the only revealed time of probation ; 
He "Jtoill xtxC^tt its eberg man aaorbing to hi^ 
bceb^";^ "^ke nijjht com^tk token no man ran 

1 Ps. Izzxix. 11 s GisN. xviii. 25. > Rom. ii. 6. 

1 8 2 Possibilities of Salvation for the 

iDinrk";^ "^here i0 ntsxct other S^txciZ mi^tt 
heabnt ({iben among nun* ioherths toe mtiet be 
oabtb " ; ^ or as the Fathers interpreted it, Christ is 
the Head of the Church, and there is no salvation 
without its pale. 

We have shown before that the heathen cannot 
possibly be awarded the blessings of salvation on the 
basis of their earthly probation, if at least salvation 
is synonymous with the full enjoyment of the 
Vision of Grod, 

The general statement, therefore, that man will 

be judged according to what he has done in the 

flesh must admit of exceptions ; unless at least we 

ne sta^e- would impugn the justice of God. The heathen 

iptnre may fairly be considered as legitimately exempted 

ilication ^^^"os. the rule. It is right and fair to regard Eeve* 

[then, lation as addressed only to those who are capable 

.of receiving it; and it is not a little remarkable 

•how little is said about the heathen in the Bible, 

•considering what a large proportion they form 

of the human race. The late Dr. Arnold laid down 

the principle very convincingly, when he said, " I 

hold it to be a most certain rule of interpreting 

Scripture that it never speaks of persons when there 

is a physical impossibility of its speaking io them. 

1 S. John ix. 4. s Acts iv. 12. 

Heathen in the Intermediate State. 183 

... So the heathen, who died before the word wasr 
spoken, and in whose land it was nevdr preached, 
are dead to the word ; it concerns them not at all ; 
but the moment it can roach them, it is theirs and 
for them." ^ 

We conclude therefore that there will be some 
other sphere of probation for the heathen than that 
in the body in this present world. 

Again, so far from having been admitted into the 
Church, which is the only gate to eternal life, they 
lived and died without ever, it may be, having 
heard of its existence. We shall find, we believe, the 
only solution to these perplexing difficulties through The vast 
the vast possibilities of the Intermediate State. of the in- 

• By way of preface to the conclusion at which we state. 
have arrived, it will be well to fortify ourselves 
beforehand by a few sentences and opinions drawn 
from some of the profoundest theological thinkers, 
which seem to open up potentialities of influence of 
almost illimitable extent. The learned Annotator 
of the Analogy of Eeligion has pointed out that the 
great Bishop Butler, when dealing with the gene- 
ral redemption, was so careful to avoid restricting 
the sphere of its operation, that we are forced to 
conclude that he considered it available for those 
1 Life and CorrespQHdence^■L^ii. Ixv. . . 


1 84 Possibilities of Salvation for the 

who had not been made acquainted with it in their 
present life.^ But this is only an inference. Two 
theologians on. the Continent, who have won the 
confidence of scholars respectively by their remark- 
able treatises on ''The Doctrine of the Person of 
Christ," and " The Christian Doctrine of Sin," speak 
very clearly ; and what they say is full of sugges- 
tiveness on the subject before us. Domer writes on 
the Intermediate State that ''The absoluteness of 
Christianity demands that no one be judged before 
Christianity has been made accessible and brought 
home to him." ^ But this is not the case in this life 
with millions of human beings. 

Julius Miiller, who deserves hardly less of us for 
the greatness of his research and depth of thought, 
says, " The way of return to God is closed against 
no one who does not close it against himself; there- 
fore, those who have not yet closed it against them- 
selves, in that the means of salvation, the Eedemp- 
tion of Christ, has not yet been offered to them, 
will indisputably hereafter, when beyond the limits 
of this earthly life, be placed in a condition to enter 
upon this way of return to God if they choose." • 

But how are the heathen to be brought to the 

> Anal. ii. 6. « System of Christ. Docir, iv. 4(». 

» Clark's For, Theol. Library ^ voL ii. p. 483. 

Heathen in the Intermediate State. 185 

knowledge of God, and in what sphere will their Under wha 
probation be passed f We cannot doubt that the can the 
offer of salvation in and through the Name of Jesus c^^erted 
Christ will be made to them in the Intermediate*^ 
State.^ The true Scriptural view of that state 
satisfies us that the Church is there as well as here, 
and in the Invisible Church there are agencies no 
less efficient or active than in the Visible. It is 
the seat of Christ's mediatorial kingdom ; it is not 
till the day of judgment that He will deliver that 
up ; and He tells us that He will send His angels 
to gather '* out of His Kingdom " all that offend. 
We cannot dream of limiting that expression to the 
Church on earth. Now it is impossible for a king- The 
dom to exist anywhere without a proper organisation the in- 
and agents to carry on its government, and enforce church, 
its laws. 

Christ is equally, we are told, the Lord of the 
dead as of the living. Once it is expressly revealed 
to us that He preached the Gospel to the dead.^ It 
is no longer possible, as we have shown above, to 

1 If it be said that there will be no opportunities of an Inter- 
mediate State for those of the heathen who are living at the 
Second Advent, the objection seems to find an answer in S. Matt. 
xziv. 14, which implies that aU nations of the earth wiU have 
heard the Gospel before the end comes. 

a 1 S. Put. iv. 6. 

1 86 Salvation for the Heathen. 

interpret it figuratively of the spiritoally dead ; and 
if daring the three days of His sojourn in Hades there 
were souls capable of receiving the Gospel Message, 
there must be the same now. The Holy Spirit is there 
to take of the things of Christ and to show them 
unto men« In a purely spiritual sphere He is free 
and unfettered, blowing where He listeth; with 
nothing to impede or dissipate His influence corre- 
sponding to that which now lets and hinders every 
godly motion in man's heart The angels are there 
with their ceaseless ministries ready to do the 
bidding of their Lord. And lastly, the spirits oi^ 
righteous men are there, and we can well imagine 
that their labours for others, in bringing them to 
the knowledge of God, within the fuld of the In- 
visible Church, may be one of the great means of 
their fuller sanctification and restoration to the 
Divine Image. j 


Po00(bfUtfe0 for ot^^er^ to'^o l^U fiati no 
)^ro&atfon in t^ig %iU^ 

rpHERE are other heathen besides those who 

•^ dwell in lands where the light of Gospel truth 

has never shone. There are the vast multitudes 

of men and women who have lived Pagan lives Panmism 

in Christian lands, not from wilful resistance to 

proffered grace, but from simple ignorance of a 

better way. 

There are, alas I millions who, in addition to hav- 
ing received the common heritage of a sinful nature, 
have been cradled in vice, and brought up in the 
midst of wickedness, and, through no real fault of 
their own, have been compelled to breathe, almost 
every hour of their lives, an atmosphere of impuritjr 
and blasphemy that is bound to contaminate. 

It would, indeed, be deplorable if we were unable 
to hope for no room for improvement, if not here, 
at least hereafter. 

Here, again, we would support our hopes for 

i88 Possibilities for others who have 

Hopes of future recovery by the opinion of one of the eminent 
recovery. Theologians whom we quoted in the previous 
chapter ; Julius Miiller : — ^ The same opportunity is 
open/' he says, '' to those to whom, although belong- 
ing to the outer sphere of the Christian Church, 
the real nature of the Gospel has nevertheless not 
been presented; indeed, we may venture to hope 
that between death and the judgment many deep 
misunderstandings, by which numbers are withheld 
from the appropriation of the truth, will be cleared 
away." ^ 

The Church militant is now, thank Grod, as never 
before, straining every nerve to reach the great 
masses of our population, but setting aside the 
centuries of almost total neglect, ask any priest in 
charge of a town parish, say, of 20,000 souls, 
whether, even in this age of unequalled parochial 
activity and organisation, he can conscientiously say, 
that the choice between God and Satan has been 
put before them in anything like an adequate 
manner ; ask him whether the powers that have been 
brought to bear upon the masses to persuade them 
to all that is pure and holy, that is just and true, 
can be compared for one instant to the forces which 
are constantly driving them with an overpowering 

1 Ui supra, cli. xvii. 

had no Probation in this Life. 189 

influence to the opposite t If not, then justice 
demands that they should be placed in the same 
category with the heathen ; and if not in this life, 
yet in the next they should have a proper trial, and 
at least a free choice for the acceptance or rejection 
of what is the highest good. 

No tree will be cut down by the Great Vine- 
dresser simply because it has borne no fruit; its 
fruitlessness may have arisen from natural causes, 
from insufficient nutriment or inclement seasons. 
Before the sentence is passed, it must have, as we 
say, a fair chance under favourable conditions. The 
heathen, alike in Christian and unChristian lands, 
in the eye of God, are barren trees, but it cannot 
be said in either case, as it was said of Israel, 
''ISShat jcxmlb habe been Iione xcvstt txr tng bine- 
Barb, that i habe nxrt imw in it ? " ^ Till those 
gracious influences, which God exerts, have been 
brought into full and complete operation, the judg- 
ment is suspended, and it will surely not be 
delivered in any case before this has been fulfilled. 

When we look at the threats which are expressed The threat 
in Holy Scripture, we find that they are not levelled against th^T 
against those who have not received, or have had obstinate. 
no opportunity of receiving the Faitn^ but against 

1 ISA. y. i. 

I90 Possibilities for others who have 

such as have had it brought home to them, and 
have not kept it ; against those who do not hold 
fast the profession of the faith without waver* 
ing, who sin wilfully after they have received 
the knowledge of the truth. It is for these that 
we are told that ^* there rtmaiiuth no more maiSu 
for 0in0.'* ^ There are a thousand reasons which 
may obstruct the admission of the truth into a 
man's heart It may not be offered for his accept- 
ance in an adequate manner; it may be stopped 
at the very door by invincible ignorance or innate 
incapacity and want of apprehension ; or it may be 
placed at a disadvantage by falling upon prejudiced 
ears, or, as is very often the case, it is met by an 
inherited antagonism. Every one of these disabilities 
will be considered by the Infallible Judge before He 
passes sentence. 

No little misunderstanding has arisen from the 
erroneous translation of one of our Lord's last sayings 
recorded by S. Mark.^ He did not say, as the 
Authorised Version implies, '' he that beliebeth not 
jshall be hamneb" ; but, as it has been corrected in 
the Eevised Version, ^< he that biebelteheth jshall be 
jConbernneb," which is something widely different.' 

1 Hbb. X. 26. « xvL 16. 

* For the significance of the change, of. the AntUor's Foot- 
prints of the San qfJian, etc., Izziz. 

fiad no Probation in this Life. 191 

. The Athanasian Creed does but echo this same 
threat when it condemns — ^not as is so often and so 
fallaciously alleged — ^all who do not hM the Catholic 
Faith^ but those who do not JcMip it We can onlj 
keep that which we have already received ; and we 
keep ^ whole and undefiled " that which has been 
presented to us, and put into our keeping, with- 
out any flaw or imperfection. 

It is the Church's sentence upon the sin of 
defection, and it has the most certain warranty of 
Holy Writ: "it hab bwn better for them nxrt 
ta habe kttotDtt the toag xrE rightjeott0ne00 than 
after thes habe knotDn it to turit from the hclg 
tommaubrnjettt belibereb tinto them.'* ^ 

Or again, " it i0 impO00ible for tk00e toho toere 
once jenliQhtetub, anb habje ta0teb of the heabenls 
gift, anb toere mabe ]mrtaker0 of the ^olg (!lho0t, 
zcil^ habe ta0teb the goob toorb of (Sob, anb the 
|^ob)er0 of the toorlb to £ome, if thes ^hall fall 
atoaj, to reneto them again tinto repentattce." * 
We believe then that for those who have had no 
fitting opportunity of knowing God's will here on 
earth, the truth will be revealed in the Intermediate 
State, and in such a manner that they will be made 
capable of all the blessings of the Incarnation and 

1 2 S. Pbt. iL 21. s Heb. vl 4-6. 

192 Possibilities for others who have 

Bedanption through admisrion hereafter into the 
Invisible Chorch and Kingdom of Christ 
PftTonnUe When, moreoTery we think of the conditions of the 


in the other world, and espedaUyof the ahfienceof all those 
ate State camal temptations which are sach a hindrance to 
eoDTeraon every effort for the renewal of man in the image of 
God, we cannot bat go on and say that it may be, yea 
it must be, easier in the spiritoal sphere to yield 
the obedience which the Almighty Sovereign claims : 
the inflnences in ffivoar of accepting His will more 
winning and powerful : the inducements to resist it 
proportionately weaker. 

Such a suggestion will at once start some serious 
objections. If this be so, is it not better to leave 
the heathen and ignorant as they are, and trust to 
their being reclaimed hereafter! If we had no 
revelation of God's will concerning them, we could 
draw no other conclusion ; but there is an impera- 
tive obligation laid upon the Church on earth to 
^prearh tlu (S(r0pjel t0 tberg aeistttre,'' ^ and to 
dare to withhold it, on these or any other imagin- 
able grounds of man's conception, would be an act 
of culpable neglect To weigh advantages and dis- 
advantages in a human balance, where there is a 
Divine command to regulate our conduct, is to claim 

' 1 S. Mark ztl 15. 

had no Probation in this Life. 193 

the right of private judgment in the face of the very 
highest authority. What God has bidden must be 
best, though with our finite faculties we cannot see it. 
Again, it will naturally be objected that such a 
theory places those who have not accepted Chris- 
tianity in this life in an advantageous and unfair 
position. It may be so ; at least it may appear so 
to our finite comprehension ; but it only adds one 
more to the many perplexities which abound in the 

world : for it is impossible to overlook the fact that The prin- 
ciple of 

this principle of inequality is found to run through inequftlity 
all God's dispensations. Indeed, there is such a every- 


diversity of gifts, there are such varying degrees of 
capacities, powers, and opportunities, that hardly any 
two men we meet with are placed upon an equal 
footing. It demands the exercise of implicit faith 
in the ultimate triumph of justice, and a ready 
acceptance of the Divine teaching, that all will be 
adjusted at the final reckoning, for every one will 
receive from the Judge a righteous award and a fitting 
place in the "wang man0ian0" of His Father's 
House, — one over ten cities, another over five. 

It is only in the thought of the great possibilities 
of the Intermediate State for such cases as we have 
been considering, that we can find any adequate 
reply to those who confront us with the confident 



1 94 Possibilities for others who have 

The verdict verdict, that " tried by results the Church is a 
failure of failure." If, as they assume, there were no other 
premau^ sphere for the exercise of the Church's influence be-, 
sides this little earth which is visible to the eye; 
if the Church were bound to make good her claim 
to be the regenerator of mankind within a given 
time and in a given place, then indeed we should 
have cause to tremble ; but everything points away 
from such a conclusion. 

It would be every bit as unfair to judge of Christ's 
influence upon the world by the visible results of 
His three years' work in Palestine, that is, for a 
limited time and in a limited sphere. To the eyes 
of men the eflects of this were utterly insignificant 
—one hundred and twenty ^ followers in the metro- 
polis of Judaea the net result of the preaching of 
the Incarnate Son of God! But if we travel on 
beyond the period of that first Ministry, and beyond 
the confines of Palestine, we see that it was the 
beginning of that preaching which has planted the 
Cross in every land. Even so, what we are now 
witnessing throughout the world, though infinitely 
less than what we might have been led to expect, is 
but the first-fruits, a mere handful of com, as men 
contemptuously regard it, yet to the eye of faith a 

1 Acts L 15. 

had no Probation in this Life, 195 

real earnest of the great harvest, which the Divine 
Word has promised will assuredly be reaped, if not 
here, at least in a more congenial sphere, before the 
end shall come. 

Before we presume to measure the work of the 
Church we must satisfy ourselves that we have before 
us the vision of the whole, and not merely a frag- 
mentary part of it. We must realise, too, that that A judg- 
part which comes immediately under the eye of formX^ 
man is just that which is fettered and restricted by yisl^n^f 
manifold earthly limitations, which, with all its ^^^^^' 
greatness, is infinitely small; but that which is 
working invisibly beyond the range of mortal sight 
is set free from all the narrowing laws of time and 
space, with no worldly distractions and material 
encumbrances to impede its operations ; and this 
by comparison is of immeasurable magnitude and 
boundless extent. It is only when the results of 
this vast invisible organisation shall have been re- 
vealed, that an adequate judgment can be formed of 
the failure or success of the Church ; till then we 
are content to wait, in patient confidence that the 
voices of rebuke and blasphemy that now fill the 
air will be completely hushed, and that the promise 
that even the gates of hell should not prevail against 
the Church of Christ ^ will be fully accomplished. 

J S. Matt. xvi. 18. 

196 Possibilities for others. 

The realisation of the work of the Invisible Church 
upon the souls of those who have never had the 
choice between Christ's dominion or Satan's ade- 
quately offered them in this life helps us to meet 
the objections of the gainsayer that the Church has 
not fulfilled her mission, and it certainly diminishes 
one of our greatest difficulties that is bound up with 
the mystery of future retribution. 

The belief that ^^ endless punishment is incurred 
by the vast mass of mankind " can no longer be 
thrown in our teeth by those who claim to be the 
heralds of a wider hope. 

But it is impossible to leave such a subject as 
this without uttering a word of caution or protect- 
ing ourselves from misinterpretation. The theory 
which has been propounded above will, it may be, 
No tccond ^^^^^ consolation to many a troubled mind ; but 
probation j^ jjj^y at the Same time, through the perversion of 
Satan, create hopes that are utterly unsafe, and foster 
a spirit of carelessness as to the absolute necessity 
of seizing present opportunities and turning them to 
the best account We shall endeavour to show 
hereafter that it lends no support to the idea that 
a second probation may be expected if the first has 


SI g)ecDnO probation inconsistent toitfi 


IN the preceding chapters in accordance with the 
fundamental principles of justice we have 
claimed for every man, no matter what his con- 
dition, that before he is judged, those laws, on the 
observance or breach of which the judgment will be 
based, should be fully made known to him : also Probation • 

•^ necessary 

that time and opportunity be given him in which prerequisite 
he may make his choice for obedience or disobedi- ment, 
ence by the exercise of that free-will which is his 
inalienable birthright. We have shown that with 
vast multitudes of men and women such a choice 
has been impossible in this life, because they have 
died without ever having been taught the first 
principles of religion, or have been so placed that 
practically they had no freedom to choose between 
good and evil 

For these and such as these God, no doubt, in 
His goodness will provide, before that great and 


igS A Second Probation inconsistent 

terrible day when we mast all stand before the 
tribunal of Christ For them the time of probation 
is nowhere fixed ; the will of God concerning them 
has not been revealed; but for all those whose 
circumstances are such that the offer of salvation 
has been fully and adequately presented in this life, 
it is limited ; and there is nothing in Holy Scripture 
to induce even a hope that it can ever be extended 
beyond the grave. 
The pOTiod This limitation is again and again declared, and 
tion not marks God's dealings alike with nations, churches, 


and individuals. 

Take the Jews as an illustration of nations. 

' It would be difficult to find a clearer proof 

that the time of trial is limited than is sup« 
plied by our Lord's lamentation over Jerusalem,^ 
There had been a *'day of visitation," in which 
God's lovingkindness was abundantly shown, and 

For nations, the choice of the things that belonged to her peace 
was put before her with all the persuasive power 
that prophets and divine messengers could exert; 
the day had even witnessed the Son of Man plead- 
ing with her in earnest and loving entreaty, but she 
refused to hear, and her period of probation closed. 
The limit of time was reached, when the offer was 

1 S. LUKB ziz. 12-14. 

with Scripture. 199 

withdrawn, and what might have been, was hidden 

for ever from her eyes. 

Look again at Churches: at Ephesus,^ at Thya-For' 

tira.2 Opportunities and privileges were granted, 

and even after they had been neglected, space was 
given for repentance, but the time came when God*s 
patience was exhausted; their candlestick was for 
ever removed, and destruction meted out to their 
members in righteous retribution. 

It is the same with individuals. There is for all For indivi- 
alike a " day of visitation," an acceptable time ; and 
it is limited to this present life ; it is " now," it is 
" to-day."^ It is taught with unmistakable clear- 
ness in not a few of our Lord's parables. In the The witness 
case of the barren fig tree the vinedresser pleaded, parables, 
it is true, for an extension of the time of trial, but 
everything tends to prove that it was on the ground 
that as yet it had not had a fair chance, being 
placed in disadvantageous circumstances. Before it 
could be said to have failed, it must be shown that 
proper means had been taken to make the soil pro- 
ductive ; it had been left hard and unbroken ; 
whereas it was a prerequisite for successful culture 

1 Rev. ii. 6. 2 Rev. ii. 21-23. 

' 2 Cob. vi. 2. This only refers to those who have had their 
offer of salvation in this life, as has been shown in the preceding 
ch ipters. 


200 A Second Probation inconsistent 

that the land should be digged and fertilised. Let 
the tree have a fair trial and no pains be spared ; 
then, if under such favourable conditions it should 
still disappoint their hopes, he would not ask for 
an indefinite extension of mercy, but let justice take 
its course and be no longer arrested ; let the tree 
be inexorably cut down. 

The same principle is echoed in the Parables of 
the Pounds^ and the Talents. ^ The Lord gave to 
his servants a definite service to perform ; their 
individual circumstances, their differing tempera- 
ments, all was carefully taken into consideration, 
because the fulfilment of duty may be easier in one 
case than another ; " he gabje to jeberg XixeiXi arcori- 
ing its hi0 0jeb-eral abilitg ; " and in due time the 
reckoning came. And what was the sentence 1 He 
that neglected his Master's commands was offered 
no second opportunity; the privileges which had 
been granted to him were transferred to others, and 
he was cast ** a0 an tttiprofitable 0jerJbant inta jouUr 

It is the same in the Parable of the Ten Virgins ;* 
a definite time was allowed in which they might 
make preparations for the coming of the Lride- 

1 S. LUKK xix. 12-27. 

• S. Matt. xjkv. 14-30. « S. Matt. xxv. 1-12, 

with Scripture, 201 

groom; and though it is expressly told us that 
those that were foolish did their utmost to make up 
for their neglect and pracure what was lacking after 
the prescribed time had elapsed, there is no hint 
that they met with any success; and when they 
,tried to obtain admission into the marriage-chamber, 
it is said with an awful significance, " thje baxrr tD;S0 

The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews 
indorses this principle ; " if toe 0itt toilfullg ti\tx 
that toe hal)e reaibeb the knotoUbgje xrE the 
truth, there remaitutk tur nwre 0amffee for 0x1x0, 
but a certain fearful lacking for of juigment, 
aub fferg inbignation tohirk 0haU behxmr the 
aiber0arie0."^ The deliberate rejection of the 
truth, when once it has been fully revealed, admits 
of no possible after-acceptance. In support, how- 
ever, of what we have said before about the 
necessity of an adequate presentation of the truth, 
it is worthy of notice that the writer here uses the 
very word which expresses this.^ In the original 
it is the word which S. Paul employed to describe 

1 Heb. X. 26, 27. 

2 rV iirlytftaauf rijs dXridelas, Cf. Apri yivdxrKta ix fiipovSf r&rt 
di iiriyvitxrofMi Ka0Ci)s xal hreyv(b<r$'n»^ 1 Cor. xiil 12. iirl in 
compoands often expresses fulness ; cf. Col. ii 2, iii 10 ; EpiUisi 
i. 17, iv. 13. 

202 A Second Probation inconsistent 

the perfect knowledge which belongs to God : no 
mere partial conception such as is common to man, 
but the full unhindered revelation which renders 
the rejection of it without excuse. 

There is one instance revealed to us on the author- 
ity of our Blessed Lord,^ to teach, it would seem, 
that failure in our earthly probation admits of no 
remedy in the Intermediate State. The description 
The impos- of the rich man in the parable is not always rightly 
retrieving interpreted, and his consignment to a place of torment 
Ha(^ ii^ Hades has been regarded as a somewhat severe 
the^sase of judgment It is true that he is not held up to rebuke 
t le nc £^j. p0gi|;jye active iniquity ; it is not said that he had 

gained his riches by dishonest practices, or that any 
open scandal was attached to his name ; but there 
are cases where the neglect of an obvious duty is 
equally reprehensible with positive crime. He had 
made the pleasures of self-gratification his all in all : 
he had spent entirely on self what God had given 
him to be shared by others, and not merely now and 
again, but he had suffered self-indulgence to be the 
habit of his every-day lifa He had done it, more- 
over, deliberately, in the full consciousness that there 
were other claimants for a portion of the "good 
tilings " that he possessed ; for a most forcible appeal 

1 S. Luke zyl 10-31. 


with Scripture. 203 

from one in dire distress was continually reaching 
his ears. It seems to be intended to aggravate the 
inhumanity of the rich man that his conduct is in- 
directly contrasted with the sympathy and kindness 
of the brute beasts ; ^' tke l)0g0 jcsnu attb lijckeb ht^ 
0art0." Again, it is worthy of notice that he had 
failed in just that particular, in regard to which 
Christ has assured us we shall be judged hereafter. 
Then shall the King "^ag rvxia them xni the \tii 
kanb ; ^^part torn Jtt^, yt jmr0^jb, ittt0 tbtrla0ting 
firt, pr^artjb for the bebii anb ki0 angj^k ; fmr I 
toa0 an kungr^jb anb gt gatot Jttt na meat ; I toa0 
thir0t8, anb g-c gaij-e Jttt nss brink; . . . 'BmlB, I 
0ag ttnt0 2xm, Ina0nmjck a0 gt bib it not t^ xrite 
xrf the tea0t xrf tke0t, g^ bib it not to JE^." ^ 

It is no mitigation, then, of his conduct that no 
open and manifest crime is alleged against him ; he 
had wilfully disregarded the law of God in making 
self his highest good; he had broken down com- 
pletely in his probation, and our Lord tells us by 
his example that no second opportunity after death 
is allowed, no possibility of undoing the past in the 
disembodied state. In his case it is difficult to 
understand how a second probation in the spirit 
could have been of any practical use if it had been 

1 S. Matt. zxy. 41-45. 

204 ^ Second Probation inconsistent 

granted, because his temptations had been wholly 
carnal, bound up from beginning to end with fleshly 
appetites. The conditions therefore of the trial 
would have been essentially different So it is 
written that henceforward there was no hope of 
recovery; a great gulf, too deep and wide to be 
bridged over, must separate him in future and for 
ever from the reward of the righteous. For him 
and all who have failed as he did there is no repent- 
ance in the grave. 

« Once to every man and nation comes the moment to 

In the strife of truth and falsehood, for the good or evil 

side : 
Some great cause, God's new Messiah, offering each the 

bloom or blight. 
Parts the goats upon the left hand and the sheep upon 

the right ; 
And the choice goes by for ever *twizt that darkness and 

that light." 

The impos- Is there any possibility of recovery after the final 

sibility of 

recovery judgment? It is difficult indeed to conceive how 
iudgment oue who has failed under circumstances, where there 

has been . « i • i i 

passed. was at least much to encourage him to do what was 
right, can ever succeed where all this is withdrawn, 
and every influence for evil is intensified to the 
highest point. Yet it has been asserted that after a 

with Scripture^ 205 

time of punisliment in the presence of the devil and 
his angels, the souls of the wicked will be changed 
and their hearts brought, in spite of the awful sur* 
roundingSy to love not evil but good. It is directly 
opposed to all human experience, which teaches that 
exposure to demoralising influences in those who are 
already depraved inevitably produces further de- 
pravity. When once the sentence has been delivered, 
" P^psrt f rxrm Jtt-e, gt mrflf^b, xnia Jtb^la^ling firt, 
Tfxzfsxtt tofX the jbjebU anb hi0 angels," it would be 
a reversal of every known law of life to expect any 
amelioration of character. To one that is cut off 
from the source of all good, and abandoned entirely 
to evil in its direst form, nothing less than a miracle 
can avert the consequence of an ever-increasing and 
at last incorrigible depravity. 

If we might dare to draw an argument from 
analogy, we should find a striking confirmation of 
the principle in the history of one of our penal 
settlements. At one time it was the custom to 
transport from Norfolk Island into a place of severer 
punishment all those criminals who had proceeded 
to transgress the laws in spite of what they had 
undergone. Undeterred by the heaviest sentence 
they sinned afresh when opportunity oftered, and 
they were banished still further from their fellows 

2o6 A Second Probation inconsistent 

as irreclaimable sinners ; but the condition of this 
second place of transportation, with no one redeeming 
feature, with nothing but double-dyed, unmitigated 
sin on every side, became so unspeakably awful, 
that through simple dread of some unparalleled out- 
break of wickedness, the practice was abandoned. 
But the history of those few short years remains, 
and we are justified in reading it as a fearful presage 
of the misery of those lost souls which shall be shut 
out at the Judgment from the presence of all that 
is good, and consigned to the unhindered influence 
of the powers of evil. ^ 

It has been suggested that punishment will effect 
the remedy; "Does not,** it has been frequently 
asked, "seonian fire purify?"^ But there is one 
kind of punishment which is corrective and another 
which is retributive;* and the latter is distinctly 
threatened against the determined sinner : " xrE ho to 
tnurh siQXtx jmniehm^ent " {ri[i(opia^) " 0ttppa0e gt, 
dhalX ke h^ thtmsht toorthg toha hath tr^bb^ 

1 Cf, Woodford, Sermons on New Testament, iu 

2 Cf. Archdeacon Farrar, JSternal Hope, 

• The only Greek word which necessarily implies correc- 
tion is Traidelaf which is used (either the noun or verb) 
nineteen times in the New Testament, but never once to 
express the final judgment of God on sinners, nor, indeed, of 
the future punishment at all. K6\a<ns, which is used twice 
(S Matt. XXV. 46, aud'/roXa^o/A^'ovs, 2 S. Peter ii. 9) of. the 

with Scripture. 207 

ttttb^ £o0t the ^isxi oi (Soh ? . . . Jfor tot knoto 
^im that hath a&iby "Stngeante btlmtgtth mttir 
Jttt, 3E toiU r-ec0mptn0je, 0aith the IPori." ^ 

It is told us in the Eevelation with startling 
significance that when the angels poured out their 
vials full of the wrath of God, it was followed by 
no cry of penitence or confession of sin, but that 
''Ihes bla^fhtmtb the £Lntat ot (Sob . . . nxtb 
Ihes ttfttdtb not to giht |@im gbrg/' and again, 
as "theg jnatoeb their iortfpxzsf for patn," they 
" hla^phemeb the (Sob of henben hejcau0e of their 
|)ain0 anb their 0ore0, anb repenteb not of their 

This, then, is the conclusion of the whole matter ; a The con- 
righteous judgment presupposes of necessity an ade- fr^m**scrii 
quate probation ; if this has been withheld from any ^J^* the 
man in this life, through circumstances over which he JJ^^^^ 
had no control, an extension of time may be granted adequate i 
after death ; but wherever the choice of good has newed. 
been fully offered and with such force and per- 
suasion that a man might reasonably be expected to 

future puDishment of the wicked, might, according to classical 
usage, imply correction, but in the Lxx., the Apocrypha, and the 
other passages of the New Testament, it indicates punishment 
pure and simple. There is no instance where it is used of punish- 
ment inflicted with a view to moral improvement, rifiiopla, which 
is applied to the wicked, ceitainly conveys no such idea. 
1 HjiB. z. 29, 30. 3 rbv. zvi. 9-11. 

2o8 No Second Probation possible. 

take ity if he should resist the grace of God and, 
trampling His o£fer under foot, accept the evil, the 
consequences are eternal. No new test, no oppor- 
tunity of retrieving the past, no second probation is 
possible : the door of repentance has been closed 
against him. 

There is, however, one ray of consolation in the 
midst of so much that is dark and overwhelming. 
No human being can tell exactly what constitutes 
an adequate presentment of the truth to any man ; 
God alone will be the Judge of that. Of every 
one's work, his opportunity, his capacity of choice, 
the day of judgment will declare what sort it is. 
Till that is revealed, therefore, the number of the 
saved or lost must remain among those ^^ Sitttti 
ihing0 tohirh are the |Corli0"; and it is a daring 
presumption to say that " the doom of destruction 
awaits the vast mass of mankind.'* 


^^e Hegitimacp of prapfng for t^e 3Deali^ 

ONE of the most interesting questions in conncc- 
tiou with the Intermediate State is the legiti- 
macy of prayer for the faithful souls that have 
entered upon it. We have investigated the evi- 
dence and set it forth at length in another treatise,^ 
but it seems impossible to pass it by at the present 
time, and this seems the most fitting place to deal 
with it inasmuch as it is intimately bound up 
with the concluding subject, the Communion of 

Without entering into details we refer the reader The evi- 
to four epochs of history, the consideration of which important 
will best reveal the mind of the Church ; they are, church*' 
the time of our Blessed Lord and the Apostles : the *^^*°^y* 
period commonly spoken of as Primitive Christian- 
ity, extending from the Apostolic age down to the 
fourth General Council in the middle of the fifth 

1 This is done in After Deaih^ Pt. i, 

2 1 o Tlie Legitimacy of Praying 

century : the eventful crisis of the English Reforma- 
tion : and finally, the last two hundred years. 

Goncemiug the belief which prevailed at the first 

epoch very little is told us in Holy Scripture, but 

The time of there is historical evidence to be drawn from other 

our Lord. 

sources to show that it was then a common practice 
among the Jews to pray for the dead. The Second 
Book of Maccabees, composed probably about 124 
B.C., witnesses to a definite instance in which the 
practice was enforced, and states the grounds where- 
upon it rested.^ 

The Jewish Service-books* corroborate it, and 
though it is difficult to fix the dates of these, it is 
universally acknowledged that they embody doctrines 
and practices of the most remote antiquity. Indirect 
evidence has also been found by Jewish writers both 
in the Old and New Testaments.* Now our Blessed 
Lord does not seem to have spoken upon the subject. 
How are we to account for His silence ? We should 
hesitate to lay it down dogmatically that it indicates 

1 xii. 44, 45. 

2 Of. Kaddish aud fiaskarath Neshamoth. Hebrew tomb 
stones teach the same. 

3 Siphre on 4th and 5th Books of Moses. Deut. xxi. 8. The 
late Hebrew and Talmudic Reader at Cambridge, one of the mopt 
learned Jews of modem times, never hesitated to declare his 
undoubted conviction that the practice was common in the time 
of our Lord ; and there was nothing to prejudice his judgment 
in the matter. 

for the Dead. 2 1 1 

His approval of a practice of which He was fully 
conscious, yet we are justified in saying that it is 
the most probable solution of the difficulty. 

Passing to the period that immediately followed, 
we open a page of the greatest importance in its 
bearing upon the subject ; for one of the Apostles is 
found to use language which the unbiassed inter- The Apo- 

stolic age. 

preter cannot fail to understand as a prayer for the 
dead. In speaking of Onesiphorus he said, '^^ht 
^oxb grant nnio him that fee mag finb mtxcQ ot 
the $jOXjb in that bag."^ True, it is not written in 
so many words that Onesiphorus was dead, but a 
fair consideration of the manner in which S. Paul 
speaks of him and his household shows it to be the 
only natural conclusion to be drawn ; and such was 
the almost unanimous verdict of the early Fathers 
of the Church.* 

In the second stage of history before us, we find The Primi- 


overwhelming testimony. The monumental tablets 
taken from the Catacombs, dating from the close of 
the first to the beginning of the fifth centuries, give 
abundant illustrations ; over and over again they 
speak of the faithful dead as being in peace, but 

1 2 Tim. i. 18. 

8 S. Chrysostom speaks douLtfuUy. Fabricius, the Biogi'apher 
of Leipsic in the last century, has asserted that he was alive, 
bat adduces no evidence. 

2 1 2 The Legitimacy of Praying 

express prayers and petitions that they may enjoy 
it more abundantly. 

The teaching of the Fathers is uniform and pre- 
sents a chain of evidence which reaches from the 
close of the second century onwards; it does not 
fill up the gap of more than a hundred years 
between S. Paul and TertuUian, but we are con- 
strained to believe that this is done by the primi- 
tive Liturgies. The opponents of the doctrine of 
prayers for the dead urge that this latter source 
of information is not to be trusted, because the 
Liturgies are full of late interpolations. But though 
it is perfectly true that they do abound in inter- 
polated matter, it in no way diminishes the value of 
their testimony when it comes to be tested criti- 
cally. Liturgical scholars are able to put their 
finger at once upon any part and decide whether it 
is original or interpolated. Now it is a principle 
regulating the whole character of Public Worship 
that no doctrine or practice ever finds its way into 
the Service-books until it has laid hold upon, and 
become deeply lodged, in the hearts of the people ; 
it is obvious, therefore, that the recognition of 
i^jirayers for the dead in the Liturgies of the second 
century carries the evidence for the practice still 
further back. 

for the Dead. 213 

Between the second and third epochs there is a 
long interval of time, during which many corrup- 
tions crept into the Church, and not least in regard 

to this and its associated doctrines. At the Ee- The period 

. of the Re- 

formation, in that Eevision of our Service-books formation, 

which, as the work entirely of English Catholics, 
has been favourably received, unauthorised accretions 
were removed, and the prayers were once more 
clothed in primitive and Apostolic language. 
Then came the disastrous time when foreign Ee- 
formers were allowed to interfere with our English 
worship. It is generally taught that they swept 
away all traces of the practice, and that as it has 
never been authoritatively restored, it cannot be 
adopted in loyalty to the Eeformed Church. That 
they obscured it none can doubt: but that they 
prohibited it, is wholly untrue. The Preface to our 
present Prayer-book asserts that "the main body 
and essentials '' of our Service-books have con- 
tinued through all the Eevisions "the same unto 
this day." There is moreover very distinct evi- 
dence that the Church refused to accept the con- 
demnation of prayers for the dead just at that 
epoch when so much was done or attempted, to 
lower the standard of Catholic doctrine. 

In 1553 A.D. a body of Forty-two* Articles was 

214 Tlie Legitimacy of Praying 

agreed upon by the Bishops and other representative 
men in the Church " for the avoiding of controversy 
in opinions and the establishment of godly concord 
in certain matters of religion." Among these was 
one, the 23d, which condemned ^' the Schoolauthors' 
teaching concerning Purgatory, Pardons, worship- 
ping, and adoration as well of images as of relics 
• . • as a fond thing vainly invented and grounded 
upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repug- 
nant to the Word of Gknl." It is by no means 
generally known that in the earliest draft of this 
Article, ^ Prayer for the dead " was placed in the 
same category with the above ; it is even said that 
the Article with this addition was actually signed 
by the six Koyal Chaplains.^ Moreover Hooper, 
whose views were almost identical with the most 
anti-Catholic of the foreign Protestants, took upon 
himself to circulate the Article in this form through- 
out his diocese in the year 1552 A.D.^ When, 
however, the Forty-two Articles were submitted for 
final approval to Convocation this particular clause 

1 Todd, in his Oranmer ii 288, mentions this ; and the copy 
•o signed is in the State-paper Office. Ct Calendar qf State 
PaperSf Domestic, 1547-1580. 

s Hooper seems in his visitation to have added to the 
original number, for he issued fifty. In the 9th of these, after 
Purgatory and pardons, was added 'Sprayer for them that are 
dex^arted oat of this world." 

for the Dead. 2 1 5 

ill the 23d was deliberately erased. It shows as 
clearly as possible that the matter was brought 
under consideration, and that, even at a crisis 
when the authorities of the English Church n^aui- 
fested more disregard for Catholic principles than 
perhaps at any other time, they nevertheless found 
it quite impossible to stigmatise prayers for the 
dead as contrary to Scripture. 

At the final Eevision of the Prayer-book, the sup- 
posed connexion of praying for the dead with Pur- 
gatory was still so strongly ingrained in the popular 
mind that the Kevisers on grounds of expediency 
hesitated to restore the definite forms which had 
been withdrawn at the second Eevision. It is satis- 
factory, however, to know that the leading spirit of 
the Church in this work. Bishop Cosin, has left it 
on record that the words, "that we and all Thy 
whole Church may have remission of sins, and all 
other benefits of Thy Passion " were retained in the 
Service of set purpose as a cumulative expression 
intended to include both the living and the dead.^ 

Passing to the time that has intervened since the The period 
last act of the Eeformation period, we find that, elapsed 
notwithstanding the discouragements excited by fears Reforma- 
of Roman error, which robbed our Public Services ^°"' 

* Cf. XvieSt 1st scries. Works^ v. 351-2 : Anglo-Catb. Libr, 

2 1 6 Legitimacy of Praying for the Dead. 

of all definite teaching on the subject, there is ample 
testimony in the lives of many of our greatest 
Bishops and divines ^ to show that in private prac- 
tice this heritage of Catholic antiquity was never 

The conclusion forced upon us by a long and 
patient investigation is, that it would be difficult 
to find stronger or more uniform support for any 
doctrine or practice not resting upon the express 
direction of our Lord or His Apostles. 

1 Barrow, Thorndike, Ken, Hickcs, Jolin Wesley, and Heber 
may be mentioued as exanix>les. 


?9opu!ar flDbjectionsi to t!)e practice. 

BEFORE we leave this subject it will be useful to 
consider some of the chief objections which 
have been raised against our acceptance of the doc- 
trine. It is often alleged as a practical hindrance 
that it is so bound up with the Roman Purgatory 

that to accept the one is to admit the other ; " Pur- The rap- 

- posed 

gatory is a consequent to the doctrine of prayers for necessary 
the dead/' It is true that Roman Catholic divines, batween 
failing altogether to find early testimony of a direct andTrayei 
kind, have appealed to the ancient custom of pray- ^^^ 
ing for the dead, in proof of their special tenets on 
the Intermediate State, and assume that " whenever 
the holy Fathers speak of prayer for the dead, they 
conclude for Purgatory." Such an appeal, how- 
ever, ought to be entirely disallowed, on the ground 
that the prayers of the early Church were offered 
for saints whom Roman Catholics believe to have 
been exempted altogether from the pains of Purga- 
tory. For instance, in the primitive Liturgies, the 



2 1 8 Popular Objections 

Apostles, Martyrs, and even the Blessed Virgin are 
prayed for,^ although it is an article of the Roman 
Faith that they passed at death directly to heaven, 
having no need to undergo any further purification 
in an Intermediate State. S. Augustine gathers up 
in a pregnant sentence the principle which guided 
the early Church, and it is distinctly antagonistic to 
the Boman claims : '' Who is he for whom no man 
prays, but only He Who intercedes for all men 1" ^ 
The practice therefore of antiquity, so far from sup- 
porting Purgatory in its late and unauthorised sense, 
may be fitly employed as a reason for rejecting it. 
There is certainly no such connexion between the 
two doctrines as is feared on the one hand and 
asserted on the other. 

Another objection that has often been pressed is 

the apparent weakness of the Scriptural sanction — 

one brief sentence, and that, it is said, of doubtful 

insuffi- interpretation. It seems not«.unreasonable to reply 

Scriptural that if the case of Onesiphorus be granted, as an 

au onty. y^][jjnggg(j criticism demands that it should be, for 

the whole drift of the passage shows that he was 
dead, then the principle has the very highest autlio- 

1 Cf. LitU Clem,y S, BasUf S, Cyril, 

3 Qnis est autem pro quo nullus orat, nisi ille qui pro omnibus 
iuterpellat ? In Pacum xxxvL Stiin, ii. § 20. 

to the Practice. 219 

rity. The prayer was written, like the rest of Scrip- 
ture, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost ; and 
whether it found expression twenty times or only 
once, it is equally in accordance with the Mind of 
Him Who was sent to the Apostles to guide them 
into all truth. But if the presence of the least 
uncertainty as to whether he was alive or dead 
creates in any mind such a difficulty, that the autho* 
rity of the passage must be rejected, we have surely 
all that is needed in the unanimous reception of the 
practice by the primitive Church. For any doctrine 
that is necessary to salvation we demand the clear 
and explicit teaching of God's Word ; but for what 
is only accounted a pious belief or practice, albeit of 
surpassing value, the authority of the primitive and 
undivided Church is amply sufficient. 

If it be asserted, as is sometimes done, that Scrip- 
ture alone is to be the guide of all our practice, and 
that we have no right to commend for observance 
anything which cannot definitely claim the Ixiera 
scrvpta of God's Word in its favour, we feel bound 
to point out, that much as it is to be wished that 
we bad such an infallible guide, yet some of the 
most essential characteristics of the Church's life 
liave been formed without it. Let us take a single 
illustration. Upon what authority do we base the 

220 Popular Objections 

The impos- observance of the First day of the week instead of 
settiDgup the Seventh 1 "When we reflect what strict and 
thrLle^** rigid rules, what minute directions, were given by 
doctrines ^^^ Himself to regulate men's conduct on the Sab* 
tices^not" ^^t'^^-day, we are able to form some idea of the vast- 
dtf^A, jjggg q£ ^jjg revolution, which has so <;himged men's 
minds that they never think of the seventh as in 
any sense a holy day. Now how do we know that 
this change was agreeable to the Mind of €U)df 
There is not a single text of Scripture which can 
satisfy us upon the point. We have no doubt that 
the observance of Sunday and the complete super- 
session of the Sabbath-day rest ultimately upon the 
authority of Christ, but we can only learn it from 
The Church the action of the primitive Church. We are told 

iihe sole 

authority that during the forty days that followed the Eesur- 

for the 

observance rection Christ spoke to the Apostles ^ of tht things 
of Sunday. ^^^^^^^^ j^ j|^ fettiglixntt of (Sol),"^ that is, ad 

S. Matthew clearly shows,^ the Church of Christ. It 
is quite impossible that the ecclesiastical rulers in 
those first centuries could ever have overthrown the 
sanctity of one day in favour of another without con- 
vincing proof that the Apostles had received Christ's 

1 Acts i. 3. 

3 S. Matthew's aim throughout his Gospel was to set forth the 
Royalty of Christ, and to exhibit the Church as His kingdom. 

to the Practice. 2 2 r 

directions to do it ; but we are not told it anywhere 
in the Books that have come down to us. 

Even sa it is impossible to believe that the custom 
of praying for the dead in primitive times could 
have found so large a place in the Public Worship 
of the Universal Church, and in the private practice 
of individual Christians, unless those who adopted it 
had an undoubted conviction that it rested on the 
sanction of Christ, traditionally conveyed to them- 
selves through those who heard it from His Own 
lips. If we accept Church authority in the one case; 
it is inconsistent to reject it in the other ; and it is 
worthy of notice that the weight of authority is less 
for the supersession of the Sabbath than it is for the 
legitimacy of praying for the dead. There was a 
divided use as to the former for a time at least/ but 
an absolutely unanimous acceptance of the latter 
from the very first. We cannot but feel, therefore, 
that it is no derogation from the sovereign authority 

1 This is bronght out most markedly in the Apostolic Constitu- 
iiona, in which the Lord's Day and the Sabbath are regarded nearly 
as co-ordinate : the Christians were exhorted to meet for praise 
"principally on the Sabbath-day/' and "more diligently on the 
day of the Lord's resurrection," ii. lix. Again, "keep the Sab- 
bath and the Lord's day festival," vii. xxiii. ; cf. also yii. xxxvi. 
and viii. xxxiii. Gregory of Nyssa speaks of them as "sister- 
days,'* and Socrates says that there were solemn assemblies on 
both {EccL HiaUyi. 8). 

in sin! 

222 Popular Objections 

of God's Word to accept the subordinate teaching 
of the Church in a matter which is not binding as 
*' of faith," but worthy to be received for the hope 
and comfort it is able to inspire. 
Ts it lawful There is yet one more point of interest that can 
those who hardly be passed over: for whom is it lawful to 
have died pray 1 for those only who died in faith, or for sin- 
ners also % If for the former alone, it has been not 
unnaturally objected that prayer for the dead is 
robbed of its chief attraction. In primitive times 
in Public Worship none but "the faithful" were 
accounted as eligible for the prayers of the Church ; 
at times they were spoken of or regarded as '' sin- 
ners," but never as " wilful sinners." For instance, 
pardon was asked for what we should call sins of 
infirmity ; " forgive their faults and failings " • • • 
** blot out all their praevarications ;" " call not back 
their foolish deeds, for there is no one in the bonds 
of the flesh who is innocent in Thy sight." ^ 

Again, prayers were oflFered for the effacement of 
the defiling touch which sin had left upon the soul : 
** we pray Thee, that whatever stain he has contracted 
in his passage through the world may be wiped out,"^ 

1 Cf. LifJt, S. Joannis Evang, ; Mifior, S, Jacdbi ; S, Dionysii ; 
3 Sacr. Leon. ; Sacr, Qdas, Murat. 

to the Practice. 223 

but there is hardly any mention in the Liturgies of 
those who died in open transgression. This is just 
what we should have expected^ in the knowledge of 
what Holy Scripture reveals, that the destiny of 
those who have deliberately rejected Christ and His 
offer of salvation is fixed at death. 

We can, however, readily draw some distinction Distinction 
between the action of the Church in her public pablic and 
Services and that of individuals in private. In the pny^^ 
early Church, when discipline was enforced, there 
was little difficulty in deciding who were qualified 
for her prayers ; they were all who died in com- 
munion, who had not severed themselves or beeii 
severed by judicial sentence from her rights and 
privileges. The Church claimed to decide, as far at 
least as she was called upon to form a judgment, 
who died in wilful unrepentant sin, and from those 
who were cut off from communion in life she 
withheld her prayers after death. But whatever 
the Church, by a right, solemnly delegated to her 
by her Lord, may claim to do, no such authority 
belongs to individuals. We know not what may 
pass between the soul of the transgressor and God 
even at the last, and in the absence of certainty 
which is unattainable by our finite capacity, and in 
the exercise of that charity which ''hojpjeth all 

224 Popular Objections to the Practice. 

things/' we may well shrink from condemning 
though we may fear the worst. If then we would 
pray for any of whose penitence we may have no 
assurance, it behoves us to accompany our petition 
with a recognition of the necessary condition, '' if 
it bt in titcattAnu toith ^hg toill." With such a 
saf^uard as this against even seeming to traverse 
God's judgment upon a sinful life, we may find 
comfort in praying for sinners, when all other 
means of helping them are taken away. The same 
suggestion may help us, as it helped the pious 
Bishop Heber, if we cannot satisfy ourselves that 
we have Divine sanction for prajdng for those that 
have died in faith ; we should ask God's forgive- 
ness if unknowingly ^e have overstepped the 
boundary of what is right in His eyea. 


^Ije Comniuniotx of »>afnt$i(. 

As an Article of Belief this doctrine has a history 
in many respects almost identical with that of 
the Descent into Hell. It is probably the latest 
addition to the Apostles' Creed,^ occurring for the As an 

A^rtioip or 

first time in a sermon attributed to Eusebius Beliet the 
Gallus,^ in which a creed is quoted with the words m^ted into 
"Communion of Saints" immediately after " the cretr'*^^^* 
Holy Catholic Church." The authorship, however, 
of the sermon is a matter of uncertainty, some 
critics assigning it to Faustus the Breton,* who died 

1 It was not in the Aquileian Creed, expounded by Ruf- 
finus, or mentioned by him in the Oriental or the Roman 
Creed ; not in the African, nor in the Sermons of Chrysologus, 
nor the de symholo ad Catechumenos of S. Augustine, nor in the 
119th sermon de tempore^ c. 8. It was not in the old Greek 
Creeds, n<»t cited at the Councils of Nice or Constantinople or 
Ephesus, nor commented upon by S. CjTil and S. Chrysostom. 
Cf. Pearson's Expos, ; note in loco, 

3 Dr. Heurtley, de Fide et Symholo, p. 69. 

« Commonly called Rhegiensis^ from Riez, the name of his 
see in the province of Aix. Dr. Gaspari, following Oudin, has 
written a learned treatise in favour of his authorship. 

2 26 The Coinviunion of Saints. 

at the close of the fifth century, others again witli 
greater prohahility to an unknown writer of the 
century following. It is in favour of the later 
date that it is found in no other Creed till 650 A.D., 
when it occurs in that recited in the Gallicon Sacra- 

It is worthy of notice that the doctrine must 
have heen regarded as one of no little importance, 
for the Church to have altered her symbol of 
belief for its admission at a time when additions 
had ceased to be made. 

Such being a brief summary of its imposition as 
an Article of Faith, we turn to the consideration of 
its true significance. 

Now there is unquestionably a sense in which 
the words may be interpreted as having no refer- 
ence to the state after death, which is the subject of 
our present inquiry; and we feel bound to dwell 
upon it, though we are fully satisfied that the 
Applicable gravcst objections lie against any such limitation. 
Saints ou It will all turn of course upon the meaning of the 
not re- " terms " Saints " and " Communion." Judged by 
j£^*^^ ^ modern usage, the fonner is appropriated to those 
who have finished their course and gained au 

1 Mabillon, Museum Italicum, i. pt. 2, p. 812, and de Lit, 
GaUic. p. 339. 

The Communion of Saints, 227 

entrance into Paradise ; but originally it was by no 
means restricted to tbe faithful dead. In Holy 
Scripture the title was applied not only to those Scriptural 
who led holy lives, but to any who were condition- the1;erm 
ally holy by virtue of their dedication to God. "Saints." 

In the Old Testament all Israelites admitted into 
covenant with God by circumcision were holy, and 
together they formed what the Psalmist called " an 
asjetntblg qx rmigugaii-oii tA saints ";^ and God 
Himself employed the same expression in reference 
to the whole people, when He said, that they should 
be to Him "a kingbom x>f prie0t0, an holj) 
naitjon."^ The fundamental idea of the word is 
separation,^ or dedication to God's service. No 
doubt the thought of such consecration suggested 
personal separation from the defilements of the 
world, and as this thought became intensified the 
word acquired, as in modern usage, a wholly moral 
significance ; but the fact that it was not considered 
inapplicable to a sinful and rebellious people shows 
that it was not always so restricted. 

The original usage of the word in the New 
Testament is analogous to that in the Old, designat- 
ing those who by baptism had been brought into 

1 Ps. Ixxxix. 5-7. ' ExOD. xix. 6. 

5 Cf. Trench, St/nanyms, 2d ser. p. 168. 

228 The Comimmion of Saints, 

union with God. Saints and Christians are 
synonymous terms ; and S. Paul does not hesitate 
to address the whole body of his converts in any 
particular Church by the general title of " saints," ^ 
though he goes on in the letter to reprove them 
for the commission of most grievous sins.* 

Primarily, then, as far as the persons are con- 
cerned, the communion of saints may have indi- 
cated nothing more than a close relationship 
existing between the living members of Christ's 
The double Church. But the question ai-ises whether " com- 

sense of 

Church munion " is applicable in Churches where dis- 

Ck)mrau- . ... ^ . . , 

iiiou. sensions and divergent opmions and practices are 

known to have existed. The union of Churches or 
members of a Church may be regarded as either 
objective or subjective. In the ideal state it is both. 
It is objective by reason of the " dDtte ICtrrb, QWt 
Jfatth, oitt ^aptiem."^ All are members of the one 
Body, of which there is One Head, and One in- 
breathing quickening Spirit; and, no matter how 
divergent their practice, so long as they hold to 
these fundamental truths there is an indissoluble 
bond of union between them. The Eastern and 

1 Ep. to Rom. i. 7, xvi. 15 ; 1 CoR. L 2 ; Ephes. i. 1 ; Phil. 
i. 1 ; Col. i. 2. 
s 1 Cob. iii. 1-3 ; vi. 15-18. » Ephes. iv. 6. 

The CommMiiion of Saints, 229 

Western Churches are both " in Christ " as every 
branch is in the Vine, in both cases drawing their 
vital principle from one and the same source of 

This union may be expressed or symbolised out- Commu- 

,, nion not 

wardly and visibly by definite " acts of communion ueceasaril 
which are very helpful in realising it ; but the by overt 
interruption or deliberate refusal on one side or the sension. 
other does not break the bond. It destroys sub- 
jective unity, but objectively nothing can destroy it 
but the absolute rejection of that belief on which 
the Church is founded. Externally there may be 
strife and discord, but underlying all the visible and 
distracting confusion there is that peace which 
nothing can take away, resting on the eternal truth 
that there can be no schism in the Body of Christ. 
It is as when we look at the sea in the midst of a 
storm; its surface is agitated and driven by the 
force of the wind in every direction, wave dashing 
against wave in angry conflict ; but we are sure all 
tiie time that, if we were to penetrate to its depths, 
we should find the great tides flowing on below as 
calm and undisturbed as though no storm were 
raging overhead. 

The existing divisions, therefore, of Churches and 
individuals present no real difficulty in supposing 

230 The Communion of Saints, 

that this Article of our Creed is limited to that 
bond of union which exists between all the members 
of the Visible Church. 
ReasoM for There are, however, abundant reasons for extend- 

ex tending 

the idea of ing the existence of this communion beyond the 


i>cyond sphere of the Church militant here on earth, so as 

earthly re- 1 1 ^-mi 1 • -r^ 

lationships. to embrace the Church expectant now m Paradise. 
There is first the a priori consideration arising from 
the fact that the doctrine is set forth not as an his- 
toric fact admitting of demonstrative proof, but as 
something to be received in faith — ^as an Article ot 
Belief. Yet further, all its surroundings are sugges- 
tive of mystery ; it has its place in that division of 
the Creed which exhibits the Ministry of the Holy 
Ghost. No doubt there are clouds and darkness 
surrounding all the acts of Deity, whether of God 
the Father, God the Son, or God the Holy Ghost ; 
but we know far less of the Third Person than of 
the First and the Second, and the clouds seem to 
thicken around us as we enter upon His sphere of 
iTie mys- Take the Catholic Church which is offered for the 
Iving all acceptance of our faith, as the firstfruits of the work 
assoc ated of the Holy Ghost. If it were only a visible organi- 

with it 

sation with an earthly ministry and a congregation of 
human beings no matter how vast, with magnificent 

The Communion of Saints, 231 

buildings and much pomp and circumstance of 
Ritual and "Worship, witnessing palpably to its 
gi'eatness, wo should not expect to find the acknow- 
ledgment of it made an Article of Belief; the senses 
•could take cognisance of it as an accredited fact. 
It is because it is infinitely more than the eye can 
«ee or the ear take in ; because from its divine 
■origin and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost it con- 
tains a supernatural element, which transcends the 
grasp of every earthly sense ; it is for this that it 
<ialls for the exercise of our faith. Look at its 
Sacraments ; if Baptism were nothing more than a 
sign of profession or token of membership; or if 
the Holy Eucharist were but an ordinance instituted 
to quicken men's remembrance of Christ's Death, 
they would make little demand on our faith for 
acceptance ; but all is changed directly we are told 
that in the one, by the operation of the Holy Ghost 
waiting upon and sanctifying the Baptism of water 
to the mystical washing away of sin, the soul of the 
baptized is brought into living union with God, and 
made a partaker of the Divine Nature ; and that in 
the other, by the selfsame Agency co-operating with 
Christ's commissioned Ministry, His veiy Life is 
communicated to the faithful, and the union begun 
in Baptism is sustained and strengthened, then at 


232 The Communion of Saints. 

once we pass out of the region of the senses, and 
are thrown entirely upon the principle of faith. 

It is the same with all the other clauses in thi» 
part of the Creed : the forgiveness of sins ; the 
resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. I 
believe " in the forgiveness of sins; " it is not the 
historic fact alone that Christ died upon the Cross 
as a sacrifice for men's sins, that He was "th^ 
|Kamh qI ®ab tohich takttit atoag the $^\\\% ot the 
toarlb," but it carries with it the acceptance of the 
inconceivably awful delegation of the Divine right 
of forgiveness, by which the ministry of reconcilia- 
tion was intrusted to mortal men, when on the 
evening of the Kesurrection the Lord breathed on 
the Apostles, and said unto them, " '^tczi^z gt thr 
^olg (&kos^t: ix^kostsiott^tt ains gt t-emit, tlug 
nxt rtntitt-eb unto ihtm ; anb is)kositsiOtt^tx isins 2^ 
t-etain, theg ar^ xtinintb" ^ Human reason would 
shrink from accepting it, because to our finite intel- 
ligence it seems to infringe an inalienable preroga- 
tive of God ; but we know that in spiritual matters,, 
where sight fails faith steps in, and so the assurance 
of present forgiveness, conveyed through human 
channels, is presented to us to be received in faith 
as an integral portion of the Christian system. 

1 S. John xx. 22, 23. 

The Commtinion of Saints, 235 

The same might be repeated of the other Articles, 
the resurrection of the body, and the life everlast- 
ing; they transcend all human experience: they are 
mysteries of the Faith. When, then, we find the 
Communion of the Saints attributed to the Third 
Person of the Trinity, and co-ordinated with other Conclusion 
works of His, all of which are wrapt in mystery, we embrace 
are driven to the conclusion that no thoughts can Christ as 
satisfy the requirements of the position, unless they uving. 
carry us beyond that which the eye can see or the 
reason grasp; unless, in short, tliey suggest that 
there is in the members of Christ's Church, through 
the unbroken operation of His indwelling Spirit in 
the one Body, such a close relationship that even 
death is powerless to separate them. 

The first intimation that such a link would be 
established between the two worlds through the 
Incarnation is found in Christ's promise to Nathanael 
that hereafter, when, that is, the Holy Spirit should 
inspire the Church, which He was then framing, with 
the Divine life, the Apostle would realise what Jacob 
had seen in vision, a ladder of communication between 
earth and heaven, ** th^ angHs zt ®0b a0rmbittg 
anb b^isrtnbitig njron the <§0n oi Jftan." ^ Christ, 
the Head, cannot be separated from His Body, which 

1 S. John i. 51. 

234 The Co7nmunton of Saints, 

is the Church ; hence there must be a bond of union 
between the faithful dead and the faithful living, the 
one no less than the other being members incorporate 
in the same. 

Then the Apostles caught up the idea and pressed 
it home on their converts. S. Paul . reminds the 
Philippians that their " jC0Ub^r0atian," their citizen- 
ship, "10 in htab^n";^ and repeating the figure 
he tells the Ephesians that they are " fHloto-riti- 
zm^i toith tke 0aint0." ^ The language is full of 
significance ; it suggests at once the idea of duties 
and functions to perform,^ as well as privileges to 
enjoy in their relationship to the other world, and 
it is very distinct in the assertion that they have 
already entered upon them. It is no future inherit- 
ance of responsibility or enjoyment to which they 
will succeed hereafter; it is a great and present 
reality, and an assured possession.* 

1 Phil. iii. 20. 2 Ephks. ii. 19. 

3 Civis supernaR Hierusalem : noster, inquit, municipatus in 
coelis. — Tert. de Cor. Mil. 13. Vobis corona setemitatis, trabium 
angelicaj substantise, politia in coelis.— Id. ad Martyr. 3. So 
Polycarp, writing to the Philippians, promises them their reward 
if they perform their duties as citizens, ib.v 7ro\tTcv(r<bfi€0a 
d^i<ai a&rov koX (rvfiPa<ri\4v<roficv airr^, sec. 5. 

* TToXiTev/xa iv oipavoh inrdpxei : he does not say ^orf, but the 
stronger term {f'n'dpx€i, implying prior existence : they have it 
before they get there j cf. Phil. ii. 6, where it expresses the prior 
existence of Christ in the form of God. 

The Communion of Saints. 235 

Again, the same Apostle assures them that, by 
virtue of their conversion to Christianity, God 
"hath rai0^b" them "tip txrgtthtr, anb mab^" 
them " %xi iogttker in keabtnlg plaasf in dhriet 
J^0ni3." ^ It was because through their Baptism 
they had been incorporated into Christ, "members 
of His Body, of His flesh, of His bones," that onward 
from the time that this mystical union was formed, 
where He was, there also they were. 

The most striking passage, however, in its bearing 
on the Communion of Saints occurs in the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, where the inspired author tells the 
Jewish converts that they have entered into fellow- 
ship with the members of the Divine Commonwealth : 
"3i^ ai^^ ^crntt unto Jft0nnt Bi(m, anb unto th^ 
ritg 0f tke letting ®0b, Ih^ keabtnlg Jtm^aUnt, 
anb its an innnnttrahU rompang of angtl0, . . . 
anb t0 the spirits of just xavx mabt TftdtAr^ 
All this, coming to us, as it does, on the highest 
authority, carries conviction to the mind that 
between the living and the dead in Christ there is a 
vital bond of union and joint participation of privi- 
lege and responsibility. 

If we compare the whole Church, as we have 
seen it somewhere compared, to one long army on 

1 Ephes. ii. 6. 2 Hkb. xii. 22, 23. 

236 The Communion of Saints, 

its inarch towards heaven, we shall be able to real- 
ise, though still very inadequately, how a veritable 
communion can exist between the different parts^ 
though they may be prevented from holding actual 
converse with each other. They have the conscious- 
ness that they all serve under one Captain, bound 
to Him by the same oath of allegiance, the Baptis- 
mal vow ; all wearing the same uniform, the white 
robes of Christ's righteousness: all carrying the 
same standard, which is His Cross : all* pursuing the 
same aim, the complete ^ conquest over sin, and all 
inspired by the hope of the same reward, even the 
Crown of life. The leading columns of the vast host 
are far advanced on their way ; it may be some few 
have actually entered the heavenly city,^ others have 
disappeared from the earthly horizon, and are crossing 
the valley beyond at divers degrees of progress and 
advancement, others again are still only beginniug 
the heavenward march ; but through all the length- 
ened procession there is a real sense of communion, 
they that are furthest on conscious of those behind, 

1 Cf. supray ch. viL , on Purification after Death. 

2 If, that is, the Martyrs are already enjoying the Beatific 
Vision, as the Roman Church teaches. The doctrine was put forth 
at the Council of Florence 1439 a.d., and again at Trent, when 
it was made an Article of Faith. In After Death, part 11. ch. 
viL, this view has been examined by the light of Patristic evidence, 
and disallowed. 

The Communion of Saints. 237 

those that linger with the last sensible of being 
drawn forwards by a mysterious attraction from 
those in front ; and so, though some are constantly 
passing out of sight, and no voice comes back to tell 
us either where they are or what they are doing, 
the bond is never broken, the unity is still intact. 


Specific ilQld^0 in tofitci) Communion map 

be realt^eH. 

THE Communion of Saints can hardly rest upon 
a passive consciousness of unity ; for though 
there is no certain knowledge of it, we feel in- 
stinctively that it cannot be fully satisfied without 
some active fellowship in kindred aims and recipro- 
cal service, especially in a common hope and faith 
and praise of God, and in united acts of prayer — 
theirs for us and ours for them. 
Common Hope is a very watchword of the Church on earth. 

The Apostles impressed upon their converts the 
value of it as their stay and comfort in their earthly 
pilgrimage ; and calls to abound in hope, to rejoice 
in hope, to lay hold with it as an anchor of the soul^ 
to have the full assurance of it, are constantly re- 
curring notes of S. Paul's Epistles ; and when he is 
describing the former condition of those whom he 
had won to Christ, he sums up the greatest misery 



How Communion may be realised, 239 

of it by characterising tliem as " habittjj no hapr, 
anb toitkoxit dob in tht toorli." ^ 

It must be also a watchword of the saints in 
Paradise, for this is empliatically a place of waiting 
and expectation; one in which their hopes are 
quickened by realising that the trials and dis- 
couragements incidental to their former probation 
are over. To be " toith (Ehmt " and in the com- 
pany of angels cannot but raise their hopes to the 
highest pitch in expectation of the ever-nearing con- 
summation of all bliss, the Beatific Vision. It is 
revealed ^ to us that some, secure in the peace and 
shelter of the Altar of God, were heard to cry in 
passionate longing for the time to come when sin 
should be avenged; and the Book of Inspiration 
closes with the declaration that the Chiirch Univer- 
sal, the whole Mystical Body, which forms the Bride 
of Christ, and the indwelling Spirit, unite in the 
language of hope, and long for the Advent which 
shall fulfil all their desire ; " ,^nb tke <§pirit anb 
the ^rib^0as, €0^1^."^ 

Again, faith is a very condition of our spiritual Common 

, , faith. 

being. In this life, it is true, it is liable to fluctua- 
tions; it is shaken and staggered by perplexing 
anomalies, as God's promises appear to be failing, 
1 Ephes. ii. 12. 2 Rkv. vi. 10. » Rev. xxii. 17. 


240 specific Ways in which 

the righteous man forsaken and begging his bread 
while the wicked are in power and flourish like a 
green bay-tree ; but it is one element in man's pro- 
bation that his faith and trust should be thus over- 
shadowed ; and in view of this he is constantly 
bidden by the inspired voice to be rich and strong 
and steadfast in faith, to hold fast the profession of 
it without wavering, so that nothing may take it 
away. It was accounted so essential to the saintly 
character that it was made by the early Church the 
one test of fitness for admission to paradise.^ 

In the Intermediate State, like the kindred virtue 
of hope, it becomes more sublimated and pure ; the 
very passage of the soul from the distracting influ- 
ence and bewilderment of material things to a world 
of spiritual beings, the purging away of the elements 
of earthliness, the free and unhindered concentration 
of the highest faculties, and, above all, the nearer 
prospect of realisation and fulfilment, — all this will 
combine to intensify this spiritual power of appre- 
hension, till the expectant saint seems almost to see 
before him the stable towers and battlements of the 
city of God ; but it will still be faith, for that can 
only yield to sight when the Vision of God is re- 

1 None but those who died in faith were eligible for the prayei-s 
of the Church. 

Communion viay be realised. 241 

vealed, and man is admitted to see the King in His 

Then next there must be a community of praise Common 

praise and 

and adoration. If death is no breach in the con- adoration, 
tinuity of living, then that which occupies so much 
of the life of the faithful saint here is carried on 
hereafter, only purified from earthly alloy and in- 
tensified by the associated influence of the angelic 
host. It is in the conviction of this that in our 
great hymn of praise we assert that " the glorious 
company of the Apostles, the goodly fellowship of 
the Prophets, and the white-robed ^ army of 
Martyrs " unite in the praises of the Adorable Lord. 
So too the Church Militant has an instinctive belief 
that in that service of praise and thanksgiving, 
wherein we re-present before the Father the Great 
Sacrifice of Eedemption, all are united, the saints on 
earth and ten thousand times ten thousand saints in 
Paradise, in one common act of adoring gratitude, 
as they cry, " SB0rth2 t0 tke llamh that toa0 
slain.'* ^ 

If, moreover, the end of all creation is simply the 

1 CandidlMus^ clothed in white, from the custom of candidates 
for an office wearing the white toga. The Early English Version 
of the Tt Deum rendered it "the white oost of martyris." In 
Marshall's Primer it was " the fair fellowship of martyrs." 

2 Rev. v. 12. 

242 specific Ways in which 

glory of God ; ^ if the praise of Him will be the 
absorbing occupation of the inhabitants of heaven 
hereafter, if they are destined to stand, as the rapt 
Apostle saw them in anticipation, and heard them 
saying, "|pU0i3ing, anb kxnumr, anb glxrrg, anb 
p0tojer bt tinta ^im that 0ittetk ttpott the thrmte^ 
anb uxAq the Ipamb for ^btr anb t\^tx "; ^ if, again, 
many of the most saintly men testify to having 
found some of their highest joy on earth in singing 
the praises of the sanctuary, there can hardly be a 
question that, through the continuity of life which 
extends beyond the grave, they will go on to perfect 
themselves within the veil for their eternal service 
of praise and adoration. Thus we feel a strong and 
encouraging conviction that our feeble praises gather 
strength from association, as they seem to mingle in 
the one great stream of laud and honour that "the 
innttm>erahU romirang tA angd0 " and " the 0pmt2^ 
0f jtt0t xcivx mab^ ^tdtAy' are for ever sending up 
to the throne of God. 
Reciprocal But we believe that there is some closer bond of 
sympathy and union between the visible and the in- 
visible than can ever be created by a joint partici- 
pation in hope or faith or acts of praise. It is 
realised in the thought of reciprocal prayer; for 
1 Rkv. iv. 11 a Rkv. v. 13. 


Communion may be realised. 243 

there is nothing that so completely annihilates dis- 
tance and bridges over intervening space between 
divided friends as the habit of interceding for 
each other. It is but a foretaste of that closer 
communion which will be perpetuated under the 
better conditions of a higher spirituality. 

We have shown elsewhere ^ how the Church on 
earth has never failed in her public Service and in 
the private practice of individual members to pray 
for the Church in Paradise. We know not, we 
cannot possibly tell, what the wants of the de- 
parted may be at the time that we pray ; but there 
are blessings that can never come amiss to those The prayers 
who are not yet perfected ; they are, on the one church 
hand, an ever-increasing peace and light and rest ^ *^ * 
and refreshment : on the other, the effacement of 
the defiling touch of sin and a constant growth of 
sanctification, to fit the soul for the consummation 
of bliss in the Presence of God. 

We prayed for their welfare in life, and our 
prayers follow them also in death, even in spite of 
our fears ; it matters not that the use and character 
of the Church's prayers may be misapplied and mis- 
understood, that they may "have an unfortunate 
tendency towards dangerous progressions"; that 

^ Cf. After Death f pt. i., passim. 

244 Specific Ways in which 

some of the worst abuses of a perverted doctrine of 
Purgatory may at times have seemed to gather 
strength from an encouragement of the practice; 
notwithstanding all this, we are confronted by an 
overpowering mass of evidence in favour of it ; the 
natural instincts of love and friendship prompt it ; 
reason suggests that what has been the very breath 
of life to us, it may be for years, cannot possibly be 
stopped by the mere accident of material separa- 
tion; Scripture lends a Divine sanction to it, and 
the whole undivided Church, interpreting Scripture, 
adopted and cherished the habit, with but a single 
unworthy objection during its earliest history,^ as an 
integral part of its spiritual work. 

Prayers of But what of the prayers of the faithful dead for 

fhe Church 

in Paradise, those that are militant here on earth? Just as 

reason pointed out the impossibility of the living 

ceasing to pray for the dead, so also it satisfies the 

conscience that they who prayed for us when they 

were alive in the flesh, encompassed though they 

were by all the infirmities and weaknesses which 

drag down the soul, will pray more constantly and 

efiectively, when that which now lets and hinders 

them is altogether withdrawn. 

1 Aerius' of Sebasteia : for the value of his protest cf. AfUr 
DetUh^ pp. 134-5. 

Communion may be realised, 245 

Moreover, Scripture indorses what reason sug- 
gests. Three times S. John tells us that he saw in 
vision a presentation of the prayers of the saints at 
the Altar of God. It was no revelation of the final 
state, for there will be no room for prayer when the 
Judgment has been given and our destiny fixed. 
" ^he f0ttr htast0," he says, " anb four anb ttotnta 
jelbjer0 fall ioton htfort tht ^amh, kabing Jtbtrj) 
0ttt 0f ifeent harp^s, anb g0lb-en totals full sA 
©botttflf, tohirh art tht pragjer^ xif 0aint0."^ 
"^nb another angtl camt anb 0t00b at tht 
altar, habing a golb^i renstr; anb thjert iDa0 
gitoeit nnt0 him nmck inan0t, that he 0h0tilb offtr 
it toith the prager0 0! all 0aint0 upon tht golben 
altar tohirh toa0 htfore the thront. ,^ub the 
0m0kt 0f Wit tnten0-e, tohich ranu toith the 
j)ragjer0 of the 0aint0, asanb-eb ii|r hefort ©0b 
0ttt 0f the ang-er0 hanb."^ 

Yet further, there is a long chain of evidence in 
the writings of the primitive Fathers and Doctors 
of the Church which confirms in the fullest manner 
the principle of the saints' intercessions. But 
having established a certain assurance that the 
saints departed do pray for the living, Ave are met 
by the hard but intensely interesting question, Upon 

1 Rbv. v. 8. 2 p,Ev. viii. 3, 4. 

246 specific Ways in which 

The extent what knowledge do they base their prayers ) Do 
knowledge they share the ignorance, which limits so largely 
SJ*t^ o^r petitions for them, or are they endowed in the 
""^ spiritual state with a specific knowledge of what is 

passing in the world they have left 1 Have they 
any means of communication, so that what interests 
the Church on earth or individual members of it, 
their wants and struggles, their successes and fail- 
ures, may find an immediate response and kindle 
some active sympathy beyond the skies 1 There is 
one passage of Scripture which seems to lend a very 
distinct countenance to the belief. In the Epistle 
to the Hebrews, the writer, after gathering together 
the many noble deeds of faith which the history of 
Jewish antiquity furnished in abundance, pictures 
himself and his fellow-Christians as combatants in 
the arena, surrounded on all sides by vast crowds 
of spiritual heroes, rising tier upon tier above their 
heads, like spectators in the amphitheatre : " 0mng 
)s^t ai00 Sixt £ant)ra00tb about bith 00 grtat e daub 
0f toitnt00e0, let U0 lag a0ibt tberg toeight, anb the 
sin tohijch both 00 easilg he0et U0, anb let U0 run 
toitk patienre the rare that 10 0et betee n0."^ 
The figure suggests that the dead are spectators 

1 Toiyapouv Kal rj/Meh tocoVtop ix^"'^^^ ircpiKciiUvov ^fuv vi^os 
IMprripWf K.T.\. Heb. zii. 1. 

Communion may be realised. 247 

watching with eager interest the progress of the con- 
test in which we are engaged. If we only read the 
English Version there could be no room for doubt 
that the author intended to signify that the saints, 
who have entered into rest, are fully conscious of 
what passes amongst ourselves ; but when we turn 
to the original language we are surprised and dis- 
appointed to find that he seems almost of set 
purpose to have avoided the very word which 
would have made it absolutely certain, and adopted 
another which in itself throws no light upon the 
question. The word which is translated " wit- 
nesses " is nowhere used as synonymous with 
'** spectators." There was no dearth of words in the 
Greek to express the latter had he wished to do 
so ;^ S. Luke had employed one such in speaking of 
those who had been the actual companions of our 
Lord, "iuhick fr0m the b-egiitmng totc-e VQt- 
tDitni00£0 anb mini^ter^ tsi the SBorb."* 

The early Fathers and interpreters * seem to have 

1 airrdiTTTjs, iir&irTai, bparal and even a&rofiapnjpes were all lu 
familiar use. fidprvs is simply one who gives evidence or testimony. 

* ol dx' dpxv^ a&r&irrai xal {;ir7jp4Tai yevdfievoi rod A6yov, 
S. LuKK i. 2. 

3 *'The Greek expositors generally regard fMpriipuy as refer- 
ring only to their having witnessed for the faith." So Chrts., 
ifmpT^fynaav Tff rod Qcov fieyaXei&rrjri, Theodoret., /laprvpcT 
ry 8vvdiuL€i r^j ir/ffrcwy. Theodr. Mofs., fia/mJpwv irravda oO 


248 specific Ways in which 

felt very strongly the significance of the distinction, 
for we know of no instance where this passage is 
adduced to support the belief that departed saints 
possess knowledge of what is passing here upon 
earth.^ Nevertheless we cannot but feel that the 
imageiy of the amphitheatre does lose much of its 
force, if we are bound to believe that it was used 
to the exclusion of the idea it most naturally sug- 
gests, viz., that those who throng its benches are 
eager spectators of those who engage in the con- 

The conclusion then which we are constrained to 
accept is, that while the figure of the amphitheatre 
suggests " eye-witnesses," the substitution of another 
word for one which would have fixed this interpre- 
tation leaves the matter in uncertainty. The saints 
above may be spectators of our earthly trials, we 
cannot tell ; but we have their testimony to the cer- 
tainty of success, if we follow their, example and 
strive lawfully, as they did, in the same arena. 

Although then it would intensify the value of 
our belief in the Communion of Saints if we were 

rOiv irarovdbrwv Xiyci, dXXd tCjv fiafyrvpo^PTWv vpbs T^y irlaTiv^ 
Cf. Alfohd in loc. 

^ I have examined the Patristic evidence as to 'Hhe extent of 
the knowledge possessed by the Saints " at length in After Death 
pt. II. ch. v. 

Communion may be realised. 249 

sure that the departed possessed of themselves that 
knowledge of our trials and wants which would 
enable them to make these at all times a specific 
subject of intercession, yet in the absence of such 
certainty, we have sufficient encouragement in the 
thought that such knowledge as is needful for them 
may be conveyed to them in ways that we know not 
of, by God or by the angels, or by the spirits of 
those that are perpetually being added to their 

Here then we have attempted, however inade- 
quately, to set forth some few of the ways in which 
the idea of communion may be realised. After all 
our searchings and investigations we are still con- 
scious that clouds and darkness are around and 
about us, and it must ever be so "until the bag 
br-eak anb the 0ha!b0\U0 fUe atoag." 

We have aimed at kindling a keener interest in The practi- 
cal valae of 
the condition of the faithful dead, at leading men to the doc- 


regard death not as a violent disruption of occupa- 
tion and affections, but as the appointed process by 
which the spirit passes with no real breach of con- 
tinuity into a higher sphere of activity and love. 

1 S. Augustine especially found comfort in this thought that 
though the saints are in themselves incapable of knowing all that 
is going on in this world, yet they received information from 
different sources. Cf. De cura pro nunUuis gerendaf xv. 


250 How Communion may be realised. 

Id proportion as we are able to grasp this happier 
conception we shall find strength and encouragement 
to strive after greater holiness and purity of life, 
80 that when the barriers of time and space which 
now separate us from those we have loved and lost 
awhile shall be withdrawn, they may recognise at 
once the features which will stamp us for their 
own, and we may enjoy together the fulness of un- 
interrupted communion. 

Till that day arrives let the beautiful prayer 
which one of the most saintly men of this genera- 
tion used ^ with far greater comfort, as he said, than 
he deserved, be often upon our lips: ^'Kemember 
Thy servants and handmaidens which have departed 
hence in the Lord : give them eternal rest and 
peace in Thy heavenly kingdom, and to us such a 
measure of communion with them as Thou knowest 
to be best for us. And bring us all to serve Thee 
in Thine eternal kingdom, when Thou wilt and as 
Thou wilt, only without shame or sin. Forgive my 
presumption, and accept my prayers, as Thou didst 
the prayers of Thine ancient Church, through Jesus 
Christ our Lord. Amen." 

1 Keble's Letters of Spiritual Counsel, p. 46L 





Genesis iii. 24, . 


Fsalma xlix. 15, . 


XV. 16, . 


Ixxxix. 5-7, . 


XXV. 8, 9-17, 

. 29, 114 

xci. 11, 12, 


xxviii. 17, . 


Proverbs 1. 12, . 


xxxii. 2, 


XXX. 16, . 


xxxu. 24, . 


S. ofSol. vlii.6, . . 


XXXV. 29, . • 


Isaiah Iv. 4, . . . 


xlix. 29, . 


v. 4, . . 


xlix. 83, . 


V. 14, . 


Kxodus iii. 15, . 


xiv. 9, 10, 


iv. 6, 


xiv. 16, . 


xix. 6, . . . 


xxvi. 19, 20, 


Leviticus v. 2, 


xxxvill. 18, . 


vii. 25, . 


Ezeklel zxxL, . 


Deuter. xxix. 29, . . . 


xxxl. 16, 17, 


xxxii. 49, 50, 


xliv. 80, . . 


xxxii. 50, . • . 


Daniel Iii. 28, . 


xxxiv. 5, 6, . . . 


iv. 85, . . 


1 Samael 11. 11, . 


vlii. 16, . 


xxviiL 14, . 


vlU. 18, . . 


2 Samael xii. 15-28, 


X. 18, . . 


xii. 23, . 


X. 18, . 


Nehemifth x. 89, . 


xii. 1, 


Job z. 22, . . . 


xii. 8, . . 


xlv. 7, 10, . . 


MalacM iii. 8, . . 


xlx. 25, 26, 


S. Matt 11.18, . . . 


Psalms vi. 5, 

. 29,80 

V. 26, . 


xvi. 10, . 


viii. 11, . 


xvii. 14, . 


xll. 86, . 


xlix. 14, 15. . . 


xiil.41, . 





Passages of Script 

ure explained, quoted^ 



8. Ifatt 

xvl. 18, . . . 195 

Acts vii. 60, ... 41) 

xvii. 8, 


xii. 7, 10, 


xviil. 10, . 


XX. 85, . 


XXV. 1-12, . 


Romans i. 7, 


XXV. 14-30, 


ii. 6, . 

18 L 

XXV. 41-45, 


ii. 6-16, 


xxvU. 68, 


vU. 15, 


8. Mark 

ix.49, . 


vUi. 16, 


xii. 18, 25, 


xiv. 9, 


xvL 15, . 


xiv. 12, . 


8. Luke 

LS, . 


xvi. 15, 


i 19, 26, 


1 Corinth, i. 2, 

■ < 


i. 28, . 


i.7,8, . 

78, 109 

vi. 40, . 


ii. 9, 


ix. SO, 81, 


iU. 1-3, . 


XV. 10, . 


ill. 13, . 

65, 76 

xvi. 9, 


vi. 15, IS, 


xvi. 19-31, 

61, 202 

xiii. 12, , 


xvi. 22, . 

. 19,42,167 

XV. 6, 


xvi. 23, . 


XV. 20, . 


xvi. 25, . 

. 55,87 

XV. 44, 62, 



xix. 12-27, 


2 Corinth, iii. 17, . 


xix. 42-44, 


iU. 18, . 


XX. 36, . 

. 8,123 

V. 1, . 


xxiU. 43, . 


, 51, 117 

V. 6, 8, . 



i. 61, . 


vi. 2, 


iil. 13, . 


vi. 14, . 


V. 17, . 


xii. 2 4, . 


ix. 4. . 



. 52,59 

xi. 11-40, 


Galatians ii. 20, . 


XX. 17, . 


V. 17, 


XX. 22, 23, 


Ephesians i. 1, 



i. . . 


ii. 6, 


i. 8, . 


ii. 12, . 


i. 16, . 


U. 19, . 


ii. 26-27, 


iii. 18, 19, 

61, 139 

Iv. 12, . 


iv. 6, 




or referred to in preceding Pages. 




Ephesians iv. 9, . • . 181 

Hebrews xU. 22, 28, 


Iv. 12, 13, . 


1 S. Peter i. 8, . 


V. 82, . 


ii. 21, . . 


Philippians i. 1, . 


iii. 18, 19, . 


1.6, , 

78, 169 

iii. 18, 20, 


i. 23, , 

. 62,88 

iv. 6, . 


iii. 8, , 


2 S. Peter ii. 21, . 


iii. 20, . 


IS. John iii. 2, . 


Ck)lossian8 i. 2, , 


S. Jade 9, 


1 Thess. iv. 13, . 


Revelation i. 3, . 


iv. 16, , 


1.18, . 


iv. 17, . 


IL6, . . . 


iv. 18, . 


ii. 21-23, 


V. 23, , 


iv. 11, . . 


1 Timothy vi. 16, . 


V. 8, . 


2 Timothy i. 18, . 


V. 12, . 


vi. 6, . 


v. 13, . 


Hebrews i. 7, 


vL 9, 10, 


i. 14, 

. 8,166 

vL 10, . . 22, 

146, 289 

vi. 4, 6, . 


vLll, . 


viii. 2, . 


vii.ll, . 


ix. 27, . 


vii. 18, . . 


X. 11, 


viii. 8, . . 


X. 26, . 


viii. 3, 4, . 


X. 26, 27, . 


zi.40, . 


X. 29, 80, 


xiv. 13, . 

. 87, 102 

xL 89, 40, 


xvi. 9-11, 


xi. 40, . 

21, 161 

xxi. 2, . 


xii. 1, . . 


xxi. 27 . 


ziL22, . 

> 1 


zzii. 17, • 




Aboahus, Apocryphal letter of, 158. 
Abraham's bosom, 41, 42. 
Altar, under the, meaning of, 44. 
Ambrose, S., on purification by fire, 

Angels, number of, 161. 

offices of, 166, 167. 

oi-ganisation of, 165. 

what they teach of the life in 

the spirit, 8. 
ApoUinarian heresy, 133, 134. 
Aquinas, Thomas, on Purgatoiy, 81. 
Archangels, the names of, 165. 
Arnold, Dr., on the limitation of the 

application of the Scriptures, 182. 
Articles, the Forty-two, on Christ's 

Descent to Hell, 149. 
the Thirty-nine, on Purgatory, 85. 

Bellarmine on Purgatory, 76. 
Butler's Aridlogy on the possibilities 
of a future state, 183. 

Calvin's view of Christ's descent into 
hell, 134. 

untenable, 136. 

Calvinistic Confession, 18. 

Catacombs, witness of the, to the 
peace of the soul, 07. 

Catherine of Genoa on Purgatory, 95. 

Cemeteries, meaning of, 49. 

Church, the, as a kingdom, 163. 

invisible, agencies of, 185, 


Cicero's anticipation of the future, 

Clemens Alexandrinus on purifica- 
tion by fire, 66. 

Communion, doable meaning of, 228, 

Contemporary Bevieto on the futura 
of the Heathen, 180. 

Corporeity of the Soul, 121. 

Council of Ferrara, 47. 

of Florence, 82, 236. 

of Trent, 47, 86. 

Creeds, Aquilean and Sirmian, wit- 
ness to Christ'fl descent into hell, 

Crusades, the, in connection with 
indulgences, 84. 

Death, figures under which it is re- 
presented in Scripture, 53. 

Descent into hell foretold in the Old 
Testament, 128, 129. 

Dormer on future probation, 184. 

EoEN, the Garden of, 84, 36, 87. 

Fire, ordeal by, taught in Scripture, 

taught by theFathers, 66-68. 

Fra Angelico, paintings by, 169, 160. 

Friendship, the true basis of perma- 
nent, 118. 

Future life, knowledge of the, pos- 
sessed by the Jews, 28. 

Gathered to one's fiEithers, meaning 

of, 114. 
GerontiuSt the Dream of^ 94. 
Gospel of Nicodemus, the 156, 167. 
Gregory Nazianzen on the ordeal by 

fire, 68. 
on its harmlessness, 96. 






^Gregory the Great on Purgatory, 78, 

Harrowino of Hell, 158. 

Heathen, possibilities for, in the In- 
termediate State, 173. 

the Homilies on, 174. 

8. Paul's teaching on the judg- 
ment of the, 178, 174. 

^-^ the Thirty-nine Articles on, 


^-^ the Fathers on, 177. 

— — Dante on, 178. 

— Noel's Catechism on, 178. 

Rfformatio Legume 178. 

Hell, meaning of, 85. 

Hilary on the ordeal by fire, 67. 

Homilies, false teaching of the, on 
the future state, 17. 

Hooper on prayers for the dead, 214. 

Hypnopsychites, 47. 

Imagery of the Bible, 9, 10. 
Inequality, the principle of, widely 

manifested, 193. 
Indulgences gpnnted at the Crusades, 

—^ Luther's protest against Tetzel's 

sale of, 85. 
view of the Greek Church upon, 

Intermediate State, Patristic views 

upon the, 23-26. 
"'— Jewish conceptions of the, 

29, 80. 
— Apocryphal Book of Es- 

dras on, 88. 
InUitution of a Christian Man, 178. 

Kbble's Prayer for the Dead, 250. 
Elee's Dogmatics, on purification, 

Knowledge, development of, after 

death, 57. 

— the Talmud upon the, 58. 

— 8. Paul upon the, 59, 60. 

Lactaktius on the peace of the soul, 

on the purification of the soul, 

Lambeth Articles, 135. 
Lazarus, the resurrection of, 5, 6. 
Legumj Reformatio ^ 178. 
Limbus Infantium, and Patrum, 81, 
158, 159. 

Dante on, 159. 

Limit to our conceptions of spiritual 

tilings, 2. 
Liturgies, Primitive, value of the 

testimony of, 212. 

Manhood, Christ's perfect, 126. 

connection with the descent 

int(» hell, 132, 133. 

Mant on the happiness of the dead, 

Marriage, our Lord's teaching on, 
122, 123. 

8. Augustine on, 123. 

Martensen's belief in a spiritual pur- 
gatory, 72. 

Memory, quickened after death, 55, 

at the day of judgment, 57. 

MUUer, Julius, on future probation, 

Nathanael, Christfs promise to, 233. 
Nebridius, the friend of Augustine, 

Newman's Dream of GerontiuSf 94. 
Nicodemus, Apocryphal Gospel of, 

I56f 157. 
Numbers, perfect, according to the 

Jews, 10. 

Onbstphorus, in connection with 
prayers for the dead, 211, 219, 220. 

Origen, on purification by fire, 66. 

Old Testament Saiuts, their condition 
ameliorated by the descent into 
hell, 152-155. 



Parable, the, of the rich man and 
Lazarus, 20, 202. 

unjust steward, 1 16. 

vinedresser, 199. 

pounds and talents, 200. 

ten virgins, 200. 

Paradise, 34, 86-40. 

Patristic views of, 89. 

Preaching to the spirits in prison, 187. 

Bishop Horsley on, 147. 

Pearson on, 187, 138. 

Patristic opinions on, 141, 142. 

Paulinus of Nola, on the ordeal by 
fire, 96. 

Peace of the soul in Paradise, 87, 88. 

the causes of it, 90, 91. 

S. Ambrose on, 90. 

8. Cyprian on, 92. 

Prayers for the dead, at every epoch 
of Church history, 209. 

important testimony of the 

Thirty-nine Articles upon, 214. 

popularly associated with Pur- 
gatory, 217. 

legitimacy of, in the case of sin- 
ners, 222-224. 

Preaching of the Apostles in Hades, 

Prison, use of the term by S. Peter, 

Probation, no second, 196. 

the period of, limited, 198. 

an adequate, necessary before 

judgment, 207. 

Progressive sanctification after death, 

testified to by Irenseus, 78. 

Punishment, future, not necessarily 
corrective, 206. 

Purgatory, physical pains of, 70, 71. 

according to Bellarmine, 


defined at Trent, 75, 76. 

fundamental errors of, 77. 

Council of Florence on, 82. 

Purgatory, Greek and Latin Churches 

at variance on, 83. 
8. Augustine's indefinite views 

on, 78, 79. 
as taught by the 8choolmen, 81. 

. Catherine of Genoa on, 95. 

what kind of, condemned in 

Art. XXII., 85. 

Purification of the sotQ, as taught by 
Boman Catholics, 75, 76. 

Beooonition of the future state, 108. 

Homer's belief in, 108. 

Virgil's beUef in, 109. 

8ocrates' belief in, 110. 

Cicero's belief in, 111. 

Restoration, impossibility of, after 

judgment has been passed, 205, 206. 
Righteous souls, the ministries of, 

in Paradise, 169. 

8ABBATH, the, observed together 

with the 8unday in early times, 

Saint Paul's rapture, 3, 4. 
— — encouragement to investigate 

what is revealed of the future, 7. 
Saints, knowledge possessed by the, 

246, 247. 
prayers of, according to 8. John, 

the Communion of, absence of 

the Article from early creeds, 225. 
the significance of the posi- 
tion of the Article in the creed, 280. 
the doctrine testified to by 8. 

Paul, 84,285. 
— - Scriptural usage of the terms, 

227, 228. 
Sleep of the sotQ after death, 47. 

modem writers on, 48. 

Scriptural language on, 49. 

Socrates' anticipation of the future, 

Sophocles on future recognition, 110. 





Spirit, The Holy, inflaence of, in 

FAradise, 170. 
Spirit-forms in the disembodied state, 


Patristic opinions on, 120. 

— Martensen on, 121. 
Spirits in prison, 61, 52, 143. 
Spiritoal character of purification in 

Faradise, 71. 
'— influences and ministries after 

death, 99. 
Steward, parable of the onjnst, 118 
Sunday observance, 220. 
Suttee of India, 112. 

TsNirv'soN, quotation from In Me- 
iiioriai?i, 6. 

Threats of Scripture against impeni- 
tent sinners, 190, 191. 

Threats of the Athanasian Greed, 

Tripartite nature of man, 14-16. 

Irenfeus on, 16. 

Throne of Olory, the, 43. 

Vision, the Beatific, 63, 236. 

qualifications for, 175. 

Wesley, John, on the future state, 1. 

Westminster Assembly, Iklse teaching 
of the, 18. 

Whitefield's complaint of men's in- 
difference to the ftiture state, 1. 

Witnesses, cloud of, meaning of the 
expression, 248, 249. 

Work continued after death, 100. 

testimony of Pascal, 104. 

witness to the unselfishness of 

the future life, 18. 


Printed by T. and A. Oonstable, Printers to Her Majesty, 
at the Edinburgh University Press.